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Devon Maritime Forum: newsletter spring 2024

  • by JW

The regular catch-up on what’s happening in and around our seas


Welcome to the spring 2024 newsletter

The Devon Maritime Forum (DMF) is an independent, non-profit partnership organisation. Its role is to bring together and facilitate communication between the broad and diverse range of marine and coastal stakeholders in Devon and the wider south-west peninsula. The aim of the DMF is to work collectively towards sustainability in our coasts and seas.

We are excited to bring you this edition of the DMF newsletter.

Meet the team
A photo of our DMF co-ordinator: Steph Steph Harper-Chung │ DMF Co-ordinator Steph was first involved with the DMF in 2007, and studied Marine Biology, Oceanography and Coastal and Ocean Policy at university. She has a particular interest in local and sustainable fisheries, and is a qualified commercial diver, with experience as a dive surveyor at England’s first Marine Conservation Zone at Lundy Island.
Portrait image of Devon Maritime Forum Coastal Support Officer: Eleanor Ward Eleanor Ward │ Coastal Support Officer Eleanor joined the Devon Maritime Forum team in April 2024. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2023 with a degree in Marine Geography (BSc). In her role, Eleanor will be helping to co-ordinate the marine element of Devon’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy.
A photo of our student intern: Anna Franziska (Anna) Reichert │ Part-time Intern Anna has been involved with the Devon Maritime Forum since February 2024 as part of a University of Exeter partnership scheme. She is in her final year of studying sustainable business and has a great passion for marine management.

If you have any news or events which you would like to be included in the next edition of the DMF e-News, please contact us through our email address:

Please note that some of the following articles have been sourced externally and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Devon Maritime Forum.

Devon Maritime Forum News
Water Quality Webinar 2024

Someone gathering water from a river using a test-tube
In April we hosted our annual water quality webinar with nearly 80 attendees. This webinar was delivered as part of the South West Marine Ecosystems (SWME) programme to report on environmental observations and changes over the past year. A huge thank you to our excellent speakers, Nicola Rogers from the Westcountry Rivers Trust and Nick Paling from South West Water. During the webinar, attendees participated in a poll to capture their perspectives on the biggest threats to water quality.
If you would like to learn more about the work we deliver as part of the South West Marine Ecosystems programme, below are some useful links:
Recording of the DMF Water Quality Webinar 2024.
Recordings of other SWME webinars.
SWME Annual Reports.
Please note that the SWME report for the status of the past year (2023) will be published in summer 2024.

South West Marine Ecosystems Conference 2024 A photo of our DMF co-ordinator, Steph, giving a presentation on water quality
Last week, representatives from across Devon met at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory to report on the state of south-west seas in 2023. The aim was to build relationships between leading stakeholders within the county and to lead discussions on the interactions between key thematic topics, such as fisheries and marine planning and development. Our DMF coordinator, Steph Harper-Chung, gave a presentation on Water Quality.
The new short film: Safeguarding our seas: Lessons from Lundy, commissioned by the Blue Marine Foundation, was shown at the end of the conference.
You can watch the short film here.

Devon’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy
Appointed by the Government as the responsible authority, Devon County Council (DCC) is currently developing the statutory Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) for Devon, including Plymouth and Torbay.  In collaboration with supporting authorities and other partners, this work is being delivered under the umbrella of the Devon Local Nature Partnership. 
Coastal local nature recovery strategies are required to extend their boundary into the inter-tidal zone as far as low water. It has been agreed, however, that Devon’s LNRS will extend seaward by 12 nautical miles. The DMF will oversee the marine element of the strategy.
A steering group has been formed to provide oversight, direction, and transparency for this work. The group has met twice so far, providing input into an initial habitat and species list for Devon in preparation for further consultation.
A stakeholder engagement and communications strategy is being developed alongside the project plan to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be involved. We will be in touch with wider marine stakeholders in the near future, to ensure a fully collaborative approach to this work. Please contact us through our email address if you would like to be kept informed about this process.
Click here to find out more about Devon’s LNRS

Regional News

Devon is celebrating #NaturallyHealthyMay, encouraging people to step outside, connect with nature, and relish the joy of being active outdoors.
Visit the Active Devon website to find out more.

Rockpooling in Devon
Coral Smith from the Devon Wildlife Trust recently presented a short webinar on what to spot in Devon’s rock pools… a great incentive to head to the coast!

Copy of ROCC logo: A wave in front of houses with gulls in the sky. The text reads 'Resilience of Coastal Communities'
The Resilience of Coastal Communities (ROCC) project aims to build know-how to enhance the resilience of coastal communities to environmental, regulatory and societal change, while improving their wellbeing and reducing adverse impacts on the marine environment. To deliver on the project, a range of data have been collected including oral histories from people with marine livelihoods in Devon and Cornwall.
Projects within ROCC’s fourth year of funding will bring these oral histories to the general public. In Devon, this involves a collaboration with the Exe Estuary Management Partnership and Mindfully Wired to develop a public trail sharing the local oral histories from the Exe Estuary with residents and visitors to the estuary of all ages. Keep an eye out for updates and a date for the launch event later in the year.
The ROCC are presenting their findings and organising workshops at the upcoming Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources conference in Bristol from Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 May. The workshop will invite researchers, practitioners and policy makers to reflect on the voices, experiences and perspectives to be included in the research and the consultation processes which inform marine management decisions, and how these may be improved. A blog about the discussion will be posted on the ROCC website.

Royal Society Pairing Scheme
We are pleased to share that Deep Banerjee, modelling scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, is one of 30 UK scientists taking part in this years’ prestigious Royal Society Pairing Scheme. The scheme is designed to help build long-term relationships between scientists and politicians to ensure that policymakers can make informed decisions based on the best scientific evidence. Click here to find out more about the Royal Society Pairing Scheme.

Recycling scheme shortlisted for national awards
Exeter City Council’s collaboration with Odyssey Innovation has been shortlisted for three national awards in the Net Regeneration and Marine Regeneration Schemes. The scheme recycles marine plastics from ports and harbours around the UK into useful items such as cups, plant pots and even sports equipment. The initiative has been highly successful with over 130 tonnes of marine plastics recycled by the city council in the last financial year.
Banner for Aquaculture Awards 2024
The Aquaculture Awards 2024 will be hosted in Aviemore, Scotland on Wednesday 15 May.
Click here for more information about the award shortlisting.

Plymouth Sound National Marine Park
Plymouth has been awarded £11.6 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to establish the first National Marine Park (NMP) in the UK.  The NMP will foster deeper relationships between the citizens of Plymouth and the sea, encouraging marine citizenship and learning opportunities to boost local environmental protection. This unique project will provide the groundwork for many more marine protected areas within the UK in the coming years.
Click here for more information about the NMP.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory, with the help of seed funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), has been working on the world’s first long-range, autonomous vessel for advanced international marine research: Oceanus.
The vessel will aid critical research into topics such as climate change, biodiversity, fisheries, and biogeochemistry. They are currently exploring opportunities for further support and funding to progress to the build phase, which will take around two years to complete.
Click here for more information about Oceanus.

Ancient reptile found in Somerset
In 2020, a father and daughter discovered the second jawbone, measuring more than two metres long, of an ancient sea reptile on a beach at Blue Anchor in Somerset. 
Scientists have now identified the bones from this discovery, along with a previous find in 2016, as part of an ichthyosaur, one of the largest marine reptiles ever discovered with an overall size of around 25 metres in length.
Click here for more information about the fossil discovery.

National News
Anti-fouling Shipping Regulation

Coming into force at the beginning of May, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency will introduce new legislation, following international accord, to prohibit the use of the harmful chemical compound ‘cybutryne’ in marine paints for vessels.
Click here for more information about this anti-fouling regulation.

UK-wide ban on wet wipes containing plastic

Image of wet wipes with large red cross in a circle
The UK Government has announced its intention to introduce a UK-wide ban on wet wipes containing plastic in summer 2024. Plastic within wet wipes breaks down into microplastics, harming both humans and natural ecosystems. 
Surveys have shown that, on average, 20 wet wipes are found on UK beaches every 100 metres. The proposed ban has been supported by public consultations, with 95% in favour of the prohibition.
Click here for more information about the upcoming ban.

Largest ever Scottish seagrass planting partnership
NatureScot partnered together with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) sponsored over £2 million for the restoration of Scotland’s seas with a specific focus on the regeneration of seagrass meadows. This funding has been identified as the largest single donation made to marine preservation in Scotland. Seagrass meadows host an array of wildlife and are often called the ‘oceans rain forests’. They have, however, been declining annually in our seas by around 7%.
Click here for more information about this story.

International News
Ocean-based carbon removal
An international workshop was recently chaired by SeaCURE partners, the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) to discuss approaches and requirements for the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of engineered carbon dioxide removal projects. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) being removed from the atmosphere and then stored.
Click here for more information about the workshop.

Palau becomes first nation to officially ratify UN Ocean Treaty
Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific ocean, helping to lead the way on ocean protection. Click here for more information.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. Please get in touch if you have any questions relating to any of the articles above. Our next edition will be published in summer 2024.

Contact us
A picture of an envelope. The following text is the DMF email address.
Picture of a phone. The following text is the DMF contact number. 01392 383000 (ask to speak to Eleanor Ward)
Picture of a computer. The following text is the DMF website address.
A picture of a location point. The following text is the DMF address. Devon Maritime Forum, C/O Devon County Council, Room 120, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD