NARC in Action 2008

Despite the poor weather and a late start to the clean-up year the year the group braved the elements and successfully carried out nine underwater clean ups around the Pembrokeshire coast in 2008

Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven 15 May

The amount of rubbish collected was much less than previously and it would be nice to think that this was down to our efforts in 2007. Although there was not much fly-tipped debris, as usual there was plenty of angling equipment. This event was filmed for a BBC television programme on wildlife crime presented by Iolo Williams. The event was well supported by the usual volunteers plus the Maritime Volunteer Service, sponsorship from Tesco who did the volunteers proud with refreshments, assistance from Milford Haven Port Authority and boat cover by Llanreath Divers and SOAS Safety Boats.

Skomer Marine Nature Reserve 14 June

The first visit to the MNR was also the first clean-up to contribute to a funded “data days” survey project with the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC. A successful day with mostly angling rubbish being cleared . As usual for the MNR, there were several examples of marine life caught up in lost fishing tackle, some were freed but NARC’s arrival was too late for others. Boat cover provided by SOAS Safety Boats.

The numbers of angling weights and other easily counted items were recorded. Although a huge amount of angling line and remains of hooks etc were also collected, abandoned tangled line is impossible to measure other than by weight. However, as it is both very light and most is covered by animal and plant growth weighing it would not give much indication of the amount present.

Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven, 7 June

The group returned to Hobbs Point for a another appointment with the Iolo Williams TV programme but again found the site to be fairly clear of big rubbish, though a bike and vehicle battery were brought ashore (picture). Tesco again provided refreshments.

Stackpole Quay, South Pembrokeshire, 28 June

Clean-up number four saw the group head south for Stackpole Quay. Though we like to prefer to start the year there with our new intake of volunteers the weather had not allowed us. The day was funded by the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC which paid for the use of charter boat “Volsung” As well as a successful clean-up, highlights for some volunteers was a sighting of an anglerfish and being circled by a huge school of triggerfish, a warm water species increasingly seen in south Wales, near Church Rock.

Skomer Marine Nature Reserve, 20 July

The second survey day in the MNR, again the using the charter boat “Volsung”. It saw the group cutting free lots of crabs, some fish, and and unhooking corals and weeds.

Fishguard, 26 – 27 July

Next up was a weekend of cleaning and diving in the north of the county on board the “Wandering Star” with Celtic Diving out of Fishguard. The weekend was very successful and the group is increasing its knowledge about the area. On our first day we were welcomed by a pod of dolphins on the way to Strumble Head. We found a fantastic dive site that will be in need of regular assistance from the group. We stopped off at Fishguard breakwater on the return journey to clean up what is always a litter hot spot. Blessed with a lovely calm Sunday we managed to dive the west coast of Strumble Head and photographed what we believe is the most northerly recorded pink sea-fan in Wales.

Skomer Marine Nature Reserve, 13 September

The third and last clearance as part of the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC funded survey. Well attended and for a second time no anglers present at Low Point. As more angling effort seems concentrated on Wooltack Point it was agreed to target that area in 2009 although it will need careful planning and timing as the slack water ‘window’ is very short in that area. A second clean-up dive was carried out at East Hook and, as this was the first clean-up there for quite a while, the amount of rubbish collected was greater than from Low Point. The numbers of angling weights and other easily counted items from Low Point are shown below. The Group was joined by the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Officer Blaise Bullimore, standing in for Sue Burton while she is on maternity leave, and his son, who both helped with the clean-ups and made sure that the SAC’s money was being spent properly, paying again for the charter boat “Volsung”.

Stackpole Quay, South Pembrokeshire, 20 September

Another well supported event, this time is support of the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch weekend. The volunteers on the day broke group records by removing a fantastic 740 fishing weights – an amazing effort. Dive boats were provided by Ogwr and Llanreath dive clubs. Some memorable sightings of wildlife were recorded, especially of cuttlefish.

Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven, 21 September

The last and ninth clean-up was back at Hobbs Point. It was again well attended and supported by Tesco, MHPA, Llanreath Divers and, with big thanks, Ceri Lewis for supplying two skips on the day.