More Seahorse spin...

oldharry

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BTVJrvdjB4&feature=youtu.be

A classic example of what we are up against, and what the public are being told about us selfish yotties.

1. Anchor chain? Clearly not, so its not 'anchor damage', but unless you are a boat owner how would you know the difference?

2. Anchoring and mooring is no more illegal here than anywhere else. The Seahorse Trust have been told this officially by the Marine Managent Organisation.

3. This mooring was laid in open sand. The eelgrass has grown up round it. So what 'damage' is it doing? In what way is it 'damaging the environment'?

If this sort of disinformation wins the day, then not only will we stopped from anchoring here in Studland, but in several key Solent anchorages too. Obviously where there is a real conservation need, then we will support it, but this sort of stuff is nonsense.

BORG continues to work on it: http://boatownersresponse.org.uk/
 

Colvic Watson

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I saw that on their FB page - take comfort from the many errors, each one discredits their whole case. Plus when I watch the video I ask "what's the problem?" Did they say anchor or mooring? I thought it was mooring.

Not that many people seem to be posting on that comment and their national fund-raising campaign has so far raised £1,000 in 4 months so it's hardly a massive campaign - yet.
 

maxi77

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Regretably he is taking the Brent Spar approach, lie, lie and in the end you get your way.

Has he managed to get any of his 'scientific' papers properly peer reviewed?

In the end the main hope must be he fails to get enough funding to support himself and he is forced to move on to a new campaign to earn his living. I must admit it gripes that our money pays for this person.
 

JumbleDuck

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That reminds me ... Southampton University have completely ignored my FoI request regarding their links with the Seahorse Trust. I must tighten the screws a little.
 

Seajet

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It's about time the BBC and other media - Bournemouth Echo sprngs to mind - were taken to task for dumbly swallowing and passing on completely bogus ' information ' which no self respecting crisp packet would have !

I complained to the BBC Trust over the disgracefully biased and innacurate Countryfile / Packham nonsense but was just fobbed off with an inane standard auto response; seems to me ' if it suits our agenda and preconceptions, who cares if it's true ? '...:rolleyes:
 

vyv_cox

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Unfortunately, this is currently on the front page of the BBC News website this morning, but low down, so will probably be moved down the running order as some real news comes in. Anyone know more about this report in the 'Peer J Journal' or it's authors?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33244000

I see it refers to a study at Porth Dinllaen, a bay I know very well. I have anchored there for 25 years and know people who have done so for probably twice that. It has always been a pure sandy beach in a bay that offers good shelter from winds from the south west. Although quite a few yachts anchor there the numbers are nowhere near those of Studland. 20 boats, plus fishing boats on moorings, would be a busy day. I do not recall any seagrass in the depths that most of us would use, which suggests that what may be there now has invaded more recently.
 

sarabande

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here's the PeerJJournal link

https://peerj.com/articles/1053/


And there is a small paragraph, which is of significancee.

"For example, there was a significantly higher number of Plaice found in low density compared to high density seagrass. Preference of bare over vegetated substratum has been documented in juvenile plaice (Wennhage & Pihl, 1994) and may be due to the need for suitable substratum to facilitate burial (Stoner & Ottmar, 2003) or as Plaice are mainly bottom feeders, dense seagrass may reduce their ability to locate prey successfully. Sand Goby were found in abundance in seagrass and sand, but were highest in abundance in the lowest cover seagrass."

So it looks as if areas with low cover are good for some species. Surprise!


Another para:-

"Although it is suggested by some that a hierarchical landscape approach is needed when investigating animal-habitat interactions in the marine environment (Pittman, McAlpine & Pittman, 2004), the current study found significant responses of motile fauna to small scale complexity variation and individual species habitat preferences which resulted in changes in the community structure in response to a gradient of habitat change at the patch scale. Regardless of scaling issues, these small scale patterns can be translated to a larger scale and provide information about the potential effects of degradation."

is fine until the last sentence, which seeks to provide a negative answer before even asking the question.



PeerJJournal describes itself as "new open access journal covering all subject areas in computer science, with the backing of a prestigious advisory board and more than 300 academic editors." It takes any submissions apparently free of charge, and then floats them round the academic community to see is anyone wants to review them. This enables the authors to gain points in the great academic game, and points mean prizes. It is an extremely self-referential process, designed to pump up academic reputation.

Sadly it means that worthy papers can be tarred with the same brush.


EDIT.

I now find that a charge o f $99 is made for submissions. :)
 
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Tranona

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Just watched the (misleading) videos. just like I remembered it in the near 40 year years i have been going there except that the eelgrass beds are vastly greater in area than they were when my children and labradors played in the shallows. The paraglider would have seen it if he had been over Studland Bay rather than Shell Bay.
 

oldharry

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Yes, it does seem that, unsurprisingly, different species look for different degrees of cover availability, and while those which seek high density cover will not be so happy in low density eelgrass, clearly low density cover provides a preferred habitat for others. We are looking closely at this report, and it will take time to follow up the various references and so, and at present time is being taken up with recent claims by Natural England blames the transfer of non-native species on leisure boats. We are also countering further claims that leisure boating activity damages 'subtidal sand and mud'. Yes, you did read that right - apparently we damage sand and mud as well.... Its not entirely clearly what this damage is.

The first thought that occurs to me reading the report is that once again, leisure boat activity is assumed to be the main impactor, and while the result is studied in detail, there is apparently little evidence that the eelgrass feature they are studying is actually the result of anchor and mooring impacts. I am also puzzled by the claim that vehicles have been damaging the eelgrass. Its 25 years since I last went there, but like Vyv Cox above, and accounts from people who have been there more recently, it would seem that people are driving submersibles around the bay seabed! Vehicles do access seafront properties by the beach, but from memory the PY eelgrass is subtitdal, confirmed by a quick look at Google Satellite pics of the bay! So immediately aspects of the report are suspect, just as we find in Studland. Secondly, the descritpio of damaged eelgrass does not accord with the accounts we have of anchoring frequency in the bay.

We will be trying to make contact with local resident and fishing groups to get their take on the report, so if anyone has contacts up there and can either get in touch with them, or can put us in touch with them, that will help us to get upto date accurate information about bay usage.
 

vyv_cox

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I snorkel over my anchor very frequently and note that many fish are only too pleased when my chain disturbs the seabed. There is almost invariably a cluster of fish hoovering up the small species that have been inhabiting the seabed. Not seen any seahorses so far but many other types are in evidence.
 

MarlynSpyke

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Regretably he is taking the Brent Spar approach, lie, lie and in the end you get your way.

Has he managed to get any of his 'scientific' papers properly peer reviewed?

In the end the main hope must be he fails to get enough funding to support himself and he is forced to move on to a new campaign to earn his living. I must admit it gripes that our money pays for this person.

As far as I know, only one has been peer reviewed, the rest are just on his website. The reviewed one is Seahorse Tagging Project, Studland Bay, Dorset, UK
N. Garrick-Maidment , S. Trewhella, J. Hatcher, K.J. Collins and J.J. Mallinson (all the usual suspects!) in Marine Biodiversity Records / Volume 3 / 2010, e73 (4 pages), URL http://journals.cambridge.org/actio...e=online&aid=7854073&fileId=S175526721000062X

Interesting to compare the following bit from the abstract against the extravagant claims he makes on the SHT website about the number of seahorses sighted :

" Five H. guttulatus have been tagged and all re-sighted several times within the seagrass bed. Home ranges of 30–400m2 were found. "


One glaring omission in his earlier SHT reports in particular is the absence of any protocol to avoid the same seahorse being reported several times over by different divers, or by the same divers on different days so there is a question mark against the numbers reported on his website. In his one peer-reviewed paper the reviewers probably left no wriggle-room, so he reports just 5. On his website, the 2009 numbers are given as 32.

In later reports he talks about using photographic id, but by then the numbers were smaller. Any connection?

I've not been able to find any record of the total number of seahorses tagged during their tagging project, which lasted between 2009 and 2012. After 2012 numbers plummeted. There has never to my knowledge been a clear description of how the reported numbers were arrived at, if anyone wants to check out NGM's reports they are on the SHT website, home page is http://www.theseahorsetrust.org/ but he hasn't bothered to index his various reports, apart from 2 or 3. BORG has tried to list and make sense of the various reports at http://boatownersresponse.org.uk/Studland-Seahorse-Population.pdf .

There's a further discussion of numbers at http://boatownersresponse.org.uk/Seahorse-numbers-the-truth.pdf - that's not peer reviewed I confess!
People might find the Seahorse Trust annual accounts and report interesting: take a look at the accounts, and note that the registered office, presumably the rent item is in respect of that, is NGM's house. http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends27/0001086027_AC_20150331_E_C.pdf

http://boatownersresponse.org.uk/
 

charles_reed

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Unfortunately, this is currently on the front page of the BBC News website this morning, but low down, so will probably be moved down the running order as some real news comes in. Anyone know more about this report in the 'Peer J Journal' or it's authors?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33244000

In fact it's a properly reviewed paper with some serious groundwork - it may be an attempt to outflank BORG.
It has nothing to do with Studland - Porth Dinllaen is about 380 nm away from Studland - however there is no research - just assumption, that anchoring destroys eelgrass - how many yotties in their right mind would choose an eelgrass bed for anchoring - an almost certain drag.
 
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