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Marine Resources


January 2014 Issue

UK Designates 27 New Marine Conservation Zones
Twenty-seven new Marine Conservation Zones have been created to help better protect marine life in the U.K. These will join more than 500 marine protected areas that already exist in the region.

Almost a quarter of English inshore waters and 9 percent of U.K. waters are encompassed in these zones. The new sites will provide greater protection for around 8,000 square kilometers of offshore and around 2,000 square kilometers of inshore waters.

Coral reefs, jellyfish and seahorses are just some of the marine life encompassed by these zones.

Action will be taken to ensure that the new sites are properly protected from damaging activities, taking into account local needs. Restrictions will differ from site to site depending on what features the site intends to protect. Activities, e.g., fishing, will only be regulated if they cause harm to wildlife or damaging habitats that are being conserved in the Marine Conservation Zone.

Designating these zones to contribute to a network of Marine Protected Areas is a government commitment under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 to ensure that the U.K. marine environment is protected for years to come.

The government plans to designate two more phases of Marine Conservation Zones over the next three years. A consultation to identify the next phase is expected to be launched in early 2015.

A final decision will be made on whether to designate the proposed Hythe Bay site early next year, and the North of Celtic Deep site will be considered in the next phase.

US Federal Agencies Work to Restore Coast Post-Sandy
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has made an agreement with NASA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing the dredging of up to 1 million cubic yards of sand from the Outer Continental Shelf to restore the shoreline at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. The project will provide material to restore more than 2 miles of beach and dunes that protect some of NASA's most critical launch assets. In addition, the ecosystem restoration project will create new shorebird and sea turtle nesting habitat.

Dredging operations are expected to begin in the spring of 2014 and take place at an offshore sand borrow area managed by BOEM about 14 miles east of Wallops Island. The Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working with NASA, anticipates the project will take from two to three months to complete.

Since Hurricane Sandy struck, BOEM has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, other members of the federal government's Hurricane Sandy Task Force, state geological surveys and other entities to analyze the needs for coastal restoration and to develop restoration plans for the 13 states affected by the storm.

Ships Forced to Slow Down to Protect Right Whales
The Barack Obama administration is permanently requiring certain ships to slow down in designated areas to protect critically endangered right whales.

The regulatory move makes permanent the reduced speed limits that have been in place during a five-year trial period, and comes in response to a legal petition submitted by animal protection and wildlife conservation groups.

The federal government has identified collisions with large vessels and entanglement in commercial fishing gear as the greatest threats to the species' recovery. The regulations are administered by the National Marine Fisheries Service and apply to vessels 65 feet or more in length that are in seasonal high-use areas.

In June 2012, the Humane Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and Whale and Dolphin Conservation formally petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to extend the ship speed regulations, as part of the groups' ongoing legal efforts to protect this vulnerable species from a variety of threats.

Passed in 2008, the five-year ship speed regulations were set to expire on Dec. 9, 2013. The new regulations do not include a sunset provision that would require the regulations to automatically expire at a specific future date. By ensuring that these speed limits remain in place, the Obama administration has extended protections that have proven effective in reducing deaths.

Prior to the speed rules, deaths of right whales, including several pregnant females in 2004, were regularly documented along the east coast of the U.S. However, since the regulations were put in place, there have been no deaths within 40 miles of any of the seasonal speed restricted zones. Slower speeds allow more time for ships to see right whales in their path and for the whales to move out of the way.

Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain in a population that once numbered in the thousands until the advent of whaling. Right whales migrate seasonally between their only known calving area off the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, and their feeding areas off New England and Canada.

North Cal Buys Hardwood Harvested Underwater
Hollund Industrial Marine Inc. (Blaine, Washington), an underwater forest management company, has secured upwards of $1 million in purchase orders for its underwater harvested tropical hardwoods. North Cal Wood Products of Ukiah, California, is among the companies placing purchase orders contributing to some of Hollund's first anticipated sales, in addition to those being secured or procured by Hollund's senior partner at Panama's Lake Bayano.

Purchase orders of Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood and Balsamo from North Cal coincide with the planned start up of underwater timber recovery operations at Bayano Lake in January.

Hollund expects to begin fulfillment of North Cal's order in the first quarter of 2014.

North Cal believes underwater harvested hardwoods will give them an advantage over their competitors, most of which use trees from forests on land.

With North Cal, Hollund says it will be able to penetrate lucrative green building markets in the U.S.


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