The Leaf: Issue 4 August 2021 - Supporting Local Environmental Heroes, An Update From Fathoms Free
To us, true sustainability isn’t about reducing our carbon emissions alone, it’s about doing what we can to ensure a better, more biodiverse future. To that end, we’re taking steps to support local initiatives that tackle damage to biodiversity caused by human activity.
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What is Fathoms Free?
Fathoms Free is a recognised charity run by a team of dedicated volunteer conservationists, who give up their time to be on-call and respond to reports of ghost fishing gear, with the team’s trained divers often working in difficult conditions to remove it from Devon and Cornwall’s coasts. Fathoms Free is chaired by our very own John Kent, Senior Design Engineer at Drayton and keen diver.
Earlier this year, Drayton made a donation to Fathoms Free as part of our annual charity support, and we’re pleased to be able to support this local conservation group in their mission. The team have been very busy so far this year, so we’d love to give you an update on their recent work.
Ghost fishing gear is equipment like nets, lines and lobster pots that are lost at sea, either by accident or even intentional abandonment by vessels as a result of damage or snagging on rocks or wrecks. It’s thought around 140,000 tons of ghost fishing gear enters our oceans every year.
So far, the Fathoms Free team has removed nearly a ton of ghost fishing gear so far in 2021!
Sites where Fathoms Free has removed ghost fishing gear during 2021, including coastlines and shipwrecks around Falmouth, Newquay, St Ives and Veryan Bay.
What's So Bad About Ghost Fishing Gear?
Ghost gear entangles wildlife like crabs, fish, sharks, birds, seals, even whales and dolphins. Sadly many die once trapped, attracting more marine animals which then also become trapped, and the deadly cycle goes on and on.
Unlike pre-1950s nets made of natural fibres, modern versions are made of plastic and contribute to ocean plastic pollution, releasing toxins and microplastics which enter the food chain. As it can’t degrade naturally, ghost gear will damage ecosystems for potentially hundreds of years.
John Kent, Senior Design Engineer at Drayton and Chairman of Fathoms Free
"I am an Engineer, diver and environmentalist who has lived in Cornwall for 27 years. The local marine life is stunning and, as elsewhere in the world, is under threat from various sources. My particular concern is plastic marine pollution and the need to raise awareness of its origins (mainly from land) and the consequences for marine life."
The work doesn’t stop after the ghost gear is removed; once on dry land the team of volunteers carefully extracts all materials that can be recycled or otherwise reused, and even work with local artists, creators and their partner organisations to produce gifts, cards and sit-on kayaks made from the recycled ocean plastic.John Kent and some of the Fathoms Free core team rembers after a dive in May this year, which resulted in around 100kg of deadly ghost gear being removed from the wreck of the Caroni River in Falmouth Bay.
How Can You Support Fathoms Free?
There are lots of ways to get involved and support Fathoms Free:
- ● Make a donation via the Fathoms Free website – removing ghost fishing gear is expensive work, every little bit helps.
- ● Buy from their online shop – browse a selection of unique gifts, cards and branded goods, many of them created using plastics removed from the ocean, recycled to fund the work of Fathoms Free.
- ● Report ghost fishing gear – spotted abandoned fishing gear on the beach or in the sea? Report it to the team online.
- ● Become a volunteer – whether you’re a diver or not, there are lots of ways to lend a hand.
Fathoms Free is a registered charity - number 1192613. Follow Fathoms Free on Facebook for news and events.
Fathoms Free volunteer divers prepare to enter the water in Veryan Bay at the wreck of the Sailing Barque Hera earlier this month.
Natalia speaks to an ITV film crew earlier this month after the second dive of the day, having removed even more ghost gear from the wreck of the Caroni River in Falmouth Bay; around 150kg was hauled from the sea.
Want to know what sustainability-related awareness days are coming up? Check list below and see how you can get involved. And when you do, why not tag us in your social posts and you could be featured in a future edition of The Leaf! Follow @DraytonHome on Facebook and Instagram.
Organic September – 1st-30th September
This campaign by the Soil Association aims to raise awareness of organic products, and the brands, producers and farmers who bring them to us in the UK. Trying switching to at least one organic products this month, as more organic products sold means fewer pesticides and more animals raised under higher welfare standards.
International Day for Preservation of the Ozone Layer – 16th September
Since 1994 the UN has commemorated the date in 1987 on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. These include those found in many industrial and consumer products, such as aerosols, fridges, freezers, paint-strippers, degreasers and glues, so this month why not ensure you know how to dispose of these items correctly to reduce damage, or where possible find alternative products with lower levels of these substances. Find out more today.
Great British Beach Clean – 17th-26th September
Fish and Chips, colourful towns, ice cream… What could be better than the Great British seaside? The Great British Beach Clean is a week-long citizen science event, where hundreds of beach cleans take place up and down the UK, where litter data is collected to help drive change. Organise your own beach clean or sign up for local events on the website.
Recycle Week 2021 – 20th-26th September
Recycle Week is Recycle Now’s flagship annual event which is a celebration of recycling across the nation. Visit the Wrap website to learn more about how you can recycle more of those trickier items that might otherwise go to landfill, and other tips to become part of a more circular economy.
FSC Friday – 24th September
On this date the Forest Stewardship Council celebrates FSC Friday, raising awareness of the importance of responsible forest management and the relationship between climate change and forests, and we’re proud that all of Drayton’s pallets and cardboard materials are FSC certified. Get involved by learning more about sustainable forestry on the FSC website.
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