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O DAN Y DON Issue 1 2018

MAGAZINE

Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC

DOLPHIN WATCH!

Top tips for watching and identifying Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau’s dolphins

Rare shark in Wales

Save our seagrass

Day in the life...

Are Welsh waters a haven for critically endangered Angelsharks?

Porthdinllaen is one of the largest and densest seagrass areas in Wales

…of Dyfed Davies: a dedicated fisherman in Porthdinllaen


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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

WELCOME

W

elcome to the first issue of O Dan y Don! The magazine that explores the underwater world of Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau, one of the largest marine protected areas in the UK. Discover what thrives beneath the waves and what might be hiding out of sight! In this issue find out about the elusive otter and why you should avoid the Portuguese man-of-war. Despite its beauty and magnificence, the marine environment faces many challenges. Read on to find out what projects are happening in your area and how you can get involved. In this issue find out about the secret world of seagrass and join our campaign to stop using plastic straws. I would like to thank everyone that has contributed to this edition of O Dan y Don with a special shout out to Alaw Geraint from Ysgol Felinheli, and Lisa Louise Cenydd, who won the competition to name this magazine. It can often be difficult for us to visualise what goes on O Dan y Don (under the waves), so here we strive to provide a glimpse into the exciting and colourful underwater world of Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau.

THE TEAM

Alison Palmer Hargrave

CONTACT US

info@penllynarsarnau.co.uk www.penllynarsarnau.co.uk 01286 679495

SAC Officer / Editor

Catrin Glyn Project Officer

@ ACA_PLAS_SAC Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

INTRODUCTION TO THE SAC Porthmadog

Nefyn

Glaslyn / Dwyryd

Pen Llŷn

Harlech

Abersoch Aberdaron

Ynys Enlli

Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau

GWYNEDD

adrig Sarn B

Abermaw

-Bwch Sarn-y

Mawddach

Machynlleth

Dyfi

Ardal Cadwraeth Arbennig (ACA) Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Sarn

lin Cynfe

CEREDIGION

The Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is a marine protected area that begins near Nefyn, on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsular, north Wales, and extends over 230km to a mile north of Aberystwyth, mid Wales. It has been designated because of its wealth of wildlife and habitats. Areas such as these are designated due to habitats and species of international importance. Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau has 12 of these: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Reefs Estuaries Coastal lagoon Intertidal mudflats and sandflats Subtidal sandbanks Sea caves Large shallow inlets and bay Atlantic Salt meadow Salicornia Bottlenose dolphins Grey seals Otter

There are lots of great ways to help protect Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau, please have a look at the ‘Get involved’ section on page 40, check out our website or join us on social media, to see some of the fantastic projects that need volunteers.

WHAT IS A PROTECTED AREA? A Marine Protected Area (MPA) is a tool that we can use to protect marine habitats and species of national or international importance whilst enabling its sustainable use. There are many types of MPA which include, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) such as Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau, Special Protected Areas (SPA) and Marine Conservation Zones. At the moment around 23% of UK seas are designated as a type of marine protected area. The UK has signed up to a number of international agreements which states that we must establish a network of MPAs which are well managed and ecologically coherent. This means that all the sites in a network provide more benefit than an individual site on its own.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this edition of O Dan y Don: Article authors : Catrin Glyn, Alison Palmer Hargrave, Nia Hâf Jones, Eve Nicholson, Becky Price, Ben Wray Photo credits: Janet Baxter, Samantha Bryan, @ecoamgueddfa, Catrin Glyn, Alison Palmer Hargrave, Rohan Holt, Nia Hâf Jones, Rhys Jones, Paul Kay, Carlos Suarez

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CONTENT WELCOME

Page 18 The Last Straw

Page 02 Welcome to O Dan y Don, staff introductions and contact details

Page 20 Llŷn Marine Ecosystems Project

Page 03 Introduction to the SAC and ‘What is a protected area?’

NEWS Page 06-07 See what we’ve been up to this year

FEATURES Page 08 Morfa Gwyllt

Page 22 Dolphin Watch – a volunteer perspective Page 24 The Marine Code Page 26 Cetacean Identification Page 30 A day in the life of a fisherman Page 32 Rockpooling

Page 09 Our Otters

Page 34 The Wales Coast Path is rather unique…

Page 10 Porthdinllaen Seagrass Project

Page 36 Are Welsh waters a haven for Angelsharks?

Page 13 Venomous Visitor: The Portuguese man-of-war “jellyfish”

GET INVOLVED

Page 15 “Flaming Litter” – Why releasing balloons and Chinese lanterns has more of an impact than you might think...

Page 40 How to get involved


Manx shearwaters nest on Ynys Enlli in the SAC, every year they migrate to feeding grounds off the coast of South America


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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

NEWS COMMUNITY SUPPORT We have had excellent community support across our projects this year and we would like to thank all those who have helped and contributed to this work. Without the support of local communities, sea users, and local businesses, we would not be able to push this work forward. We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2018.

LAST STRAW CAMPAIGN

WALES CLEAN SEAS PARTNERSHIP UN Environment launched #CleanSeas in February 2017, with the aim of engaging governments, the general public, and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic litter. This is a global campaign that Wales is now part of. Plastic is a huge problem across the globe, we all need to do our part to reduce the amount of single use plastic we use.

This summer we launched a new campaign, the Last Straw, to reduce the amount of plastic straws used. The campaign launched in Cricieth with the help of the local community and businesses. A number of businesses have already signed up, they have committed to either stop using straws completely or switch to biodegradable ones. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.

SAY NO TO STRAWS!

To help the Last Straw campaign we are encouraging people to say, “No thank you,” to straws. We are hoping this will support the Last Straw campaign and encourage others to join.

RARE SHARKS IN WELSH WATERS! A project researching the population of Angelsharks, one of the world’s rarest sharks, has been launched in Welsh waters. The Angelshark is critically endangered. The world’s only remaining known population is off the Canary Islands in the midAtlantic. There have, however, been an increasing number of sightings of these rare fish off the Welsh coast in recent years. Now scientists from Natural Resources Wales and the Zoological Society of London are teaming up with fishermen and others along the Welsh coast to find out more about our native Angelshark population.

WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE WHO HELPED CLEAN THE BEACHES OF PEN LLŶN A’R SARNAU SAC DURING THE SUMMER. WHETHER YOU JOINED US, ANOTHER GROUP, OR DID YOUR OWN BEACH CLEAN, IT ALL HELPS KEEP OUR BEACHES TIDY!

YEAR OF THE SEA 2018 Visit Wales will be launching Year of the Sea in 2018. This is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the marine environment and promote sustainable use of the coast.


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

NEWS

Dylan’s restaurant, Cricieth, has kindly adopted the first #2minutebeachclean board in North Wales. The board has all the equipment and information you need to take part in a 2 minute beach clean. So, if you are in Cricieth and have a free 2 minutes, grab a bag and help keep Cricieth tidy!

HELICAL ANCHOR A new anchor system will be trialled by the National Trust in Porthdinllaen next year. The helix anchor will replace some of the concrete blocks that are currently used. The helix anchor has a smaller footprint than the concrete block so will do less damage when installing and maintaining anchors. A couple will be trialled in the first instance to make sure they are fit for purpose.

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-

Reduce you speed

-

Stay on the same course

-

Keep your distance

Eu caru hwy o bell Love them from afar

COUNTRYFILE This summer the Porthdinllaen Seagrass Project featured on the BBCs Countryfile. Some amazing seagrass footage was shown as well as an exciting catch using a seine net. We have some amazing wildlife at Porthdinllaen and the footage gave us a glimpse of what is under the waves.

OUT AND ABOUT IN 2017

REDUCING MOORING IMPACT We are exploring ways of adapting the moorings in the outer harbour at Porthdinllaen to reduce their impact on the seagrass. If you have any ideas you would like to share, please let us know...

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#2MINUTEBEACHCLEAN

co.uk Follow th au. eM n r sa

e www.p e n llyn Cod ar ine ar

We have now produced a Marine Code for Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy. Each local authority has adopted the code and sent a copy to everyone registered to launch. The codes have had some excellent publicity and awareness of the codes is increasing. Enjoy the wildlife; love them from afar.

k Dily n w .co.u c hy au rn C sa

CODES OF CONDUCT

DOLPHIN WATCH Dolphin Watch has just completed a second year in Abersoch. We would like to thank all the volunteers. They have been on the headland in all weathers looking for dolphins, to see how dolphins and boats interact. We hope to see boats following the Gwynedd Marine Code.

We have been very busy this year with all our projects but we believe it is important to make sure you know what we are doing and have a chance to get involved. We have been to many local shows and events with information about Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau and all the different projects we are running. We have visited schools, Assembly Members, local groups, businesses and much more! Keep an eye out for our flags at local events or on the beach and come and say hello! To keep up to date with our work visit our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

MORFA GWYLLT Hidden in the wilderness of mid Wales is a small lagoon called Morfa Gwyllt. It’s nestled between the Broadwater estuary and the open ocean.

THIS IS A FANTASTIC PART OF THE COAST WITH THE OCEAN WAVES CRASHING ON ONE SIDE AND THE CALM WATERS OF BROADWATER ON THE OTHER. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO EXPLORE THE AREA IS BY TAKING A STROLL ALONG THE WALES COAST PATH. TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES, LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS, KILL NOTHING BUT TIME

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eawater finds its way into the lagoon by percolating through a shingle bank at the top of the beach, creating a brackish pool of water that is neither saline, nor fresh. Not many animals survive here, but those that do thrive, fourteen different animals and algae have been found here, some in very high numbers, and three of these are specialists, only found in lagoons. Despite the remote location, there are several issues affecting the lagoon. Morfa Gwyllt is a, shallow lagoon that suffers when exposed to litter and dog fouling. We are also concerned about the use of motorbikes and quadbikes on the shingle bank. If the bank is damaged it could prevent the sea from entering the lagoon which would be catastrophic.

Most of the animals and algae would disappear, and it is possible, in time, the lagoon itself would disappear. We want to prevent this, and have started working with the community to work on these issues. This beautiful part of the coast is well worth a visit, but remember to take care when visiting the site and surrounding area.

There are litter and dog fouling bins available on the Wales Coast Path, near the bridge.

We are also asking people to take care when on or near the shingle bank to make sure it isn’t damaged.


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

OUR OTTERS Otters are a feature species of the Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC, and contribute to the sites designation.

A

lthough the exact number of otters within the area is unknown, evidence suggests the presence of otters extends throughout large areas of the SAC, particularly in estuaries and coastal areas. Following survey evidence, sightings, and road casualties the Glaslyn/Dwyryd and the Dyfi estuaries are showing signs of regular otter usage, and the rivers Soch, Rhydhir, Erch, Dwyfor, Artro, and Dysynni are all now being used by otters. Otters have important feeding areas within the SAC, with main hunting areas determined by habitat suitability and presence of prey species. Otters are largely nocturnal or diurnal animals, a behaviour that may stem from direct disturbance and persecution. Due to their elusive nature,

the number of breeding otters within the SAC is unknown. However, we know that Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau offers an array of potentially suitable habitat for otters to live and breed. During the 1960’s and 70’s, otters suffered a rapid decline following incidents of poisoning by organochlorine pesticides. Hunting and habitat loss exacerbated this decline. Otters are now making a slow recovery, with recolonisation being more successful in rivers than marine areas. The frequent occurrence of otters within the SAC means it is an important conservation site for the species. In 2018, a new project will be launched by Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC to investigate the issues affecting otters, and determine what needs to be done to protect them.

3 ‘OTTERLY’ INTERESTING FACTS OTTERS ARE ABLE TO CLOSE THEIR EARS AND NOSE WHILE UNDERWATER OTTERS MOSTLY EAT FISH, FROGS, WATER BIRDS, SMALL MAMMALS, AND SMALL CRUSTACEANS, SUCH AS CRAYFISH MOST OTTERS IN BRITAIN BREED IN SPRING, ALTHOUGH THOSE IN NORTHERN SCOTLAND MAY ALSO BREED IN THE AUTUMN. THE MOTHER CARRIES HER YOUNG FOR NINE WEEKS BEFORE GIVING BIRTH TO TWO OR THREE CUBS

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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

The seagrass bed in Porthdinllaen is one of the largest and densest in Wales covering an area of about 286, 350m2. At low tide, you can see the seagrass extending out like a carpet into the bay.

PORTHDINLLAEN SEAGRASS PROJECT Porthdinllaen is a small, secluded village nestled on the north coast of the Llšn Peninsula. The village consists of a few buildings and houses with a pub at the centre.

D

ue to the sheltered bay and anchorage, Porthdinllaen was originally a large fishing port. Today it supports small fishing vessels and many recreational vessels. It also houses an RNLI lifeboat and is a haven for those needing shelter in stormy weather. Porthdinllaen is famed for its spectacular landscape, seascape, and wildlife. The bay holds a wealth of habitats and wildlife including seagrass. The seagrass bed in Porthdinllaen is one of the largest and densest in Wales covering an area of about 286, 350m2. At low tide, you can see the seagrass extending out like a carpet into the bay. Seagrass is a flowering plant which grows mostly on muddy and sandy shores, but it can also live completely submerged in shallow water locations, such as Porthdinllaen, where the water is clear. Seagrass has green ribbonlike leaves, about 1 cm wide, and looks like the grass on land. Like flowering plants on land, seagrasses produce

flowers, fruits, seeds, and, because of their underground root system, they contribute oxygen into the sediments where they grow, making these areas a great habitat for small animals. They also require high light levels to grow and shelter from physical stress such as waves and strong currents. Because of this, seagrass is only found in harbours, estuaries, and sheltered bays where it can form dense beds or meadows. Although seagrasses can survive all around the UK, in the last century at least 80% of the UK’s seagrasses have been lost, mostly due to disease. Poor water quality, coastal development, dredging, pollution, and repeated localised disturbance from coastal activities have hampered recovery and, in many areas, further contributed to its decline. Seagrass is a nationally scarce habitat in the UK, and only occurs in a few sites along the coast, such as Porthdinllaen. Mooring boats and seagrass favour the same sheltered conditions. There

VEHICLE IMPACT We are working with local fishermen that use the bay to reduce the impact of vehicles on the intertidal seagrass.


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

Seagrass is a flowering plant that grows mostly on muddy and sandy shores, but can also live completely submerged in shallow water locations

Seagrass is a nationally scarce habitat in the UK, and only occurs in a few sheltered sites along the coast, such as Porthdinllaen

The Porthdinllaen Seagrass Project is working with a large number of partners, to gather information and develop management options that will work for all.

are more than 90 moorings within and around the seagrass at Porthdinllaen. Aerial images and dive surveys have shown this is impacting the seagrass bed. As mooring chains sweep across the seabed, they rip up the seagrass leaving a scar behind. This not only results in a loss of seagrass habitat but also leaves the bed fragmented and less able to deal with change such as stormy conditions. Other activities also have an impact such as nutrient input and vehicle use.

The loss of seagrass at Porthdinllaen is of concern due to the key role it plays as a fish nursery ground, a carbon sink, and in protecting the shoreline. It is also important in producing oxygen and filtering water.

ensure people can still use and enjoy the bay. The Porthdinllaen Seagrass Project is working with the local community, as well as many partners and users, to gather information and develop management options that work for all.

Porthdinllaen is a special place and important for many reasons. It is essential we take a balanced approach to managing the seagrass. We need to reduce our impact on the seagrass and aid recovery, but we also need to

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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

Like flowering plants on land, seagrasses produce flowers, fruits and seeds and, because of their underground root system they contribute oxygen into the sediments where they grow, making these areas a great habitat for small animals.

PORTHDINLLAEN IS A NURSEY GROUND! SWANSEA UNIVERSITY HAVE SURVEYED THE SEAGRASS IN PORTHDINLLAEN OVER A NUMBER OF YEARS AND FOUND MORE THAN 30 DIFFERENT SPECIES OF FISH. MOST OF THESE WERE JUVENILE FISH WITH AT LEAST 10 SPECIES OF COMMERCIAL VALUE FOUND.

MOORING ADAPTATIONS WE ARE EXPLORING DIFFERENT WAYS OF ADAPTING THE MOORINGS TO REDUCE THEIR IMPACT. WE ARE EXPLORING IDEAS SUCH AS FLOATS ON THE RISER AND WRAPPING THE CHAIN TO SEE WHAT MIGHT WORK IN PORTHDINLLAEN. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT ANY CHANGES MADE WILL NOT AFFECT THE INTEGRITY OF THE MOORING SYSTEM.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION, HAVE ANY IDEAS OR WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED PLEASE LET US KNOW. ALL OUR CONTACT DETAILS CAN BE FOUND ON PAGE 2


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

VENOMOUS VISITOR: THE

PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR “JELLYFISH” An increasing number of man-of-war sightings are being reported in North and South Wales, particularly in Cardigan Bay and Mumbles. Experts are saying the 2017 strandings are the most we have had for years. This is an alarming trend given this species of Siphonophore – a group of animals related to jellyfish - has a painful sting, which in rare cases, can be fatal.

H

ere are some key facts about the man-of-war, with our tips to ensure you and your family (including your dog!) stay safe.

translucent blue-purple colour and may be up to 30cm long, extending as far as 15cm above water.

WHAT IS THE MAN-OF-WAR?

WHY HAVE THEY BEEN WASHING UP ON OUR SHORES?

The Atlantic Portuguese man-of-war is not actually a jellyfish, it is a marine hydrozoan of the family Physaliidae. The name comes from the shape of its sail, which, when it is inflated, looks like an 18th Century Portuguese battle ship. The species is found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

The increase in sightings is due to a combination of influences, but perhaps the main factor is the extreme weather across the world. Strong winds have been blowing the stingers in a Southwesterly direction towards the Welsh Coast, which acts as a funnel and traps them.

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? As its name suggests, the man-of-war looks like an 18th Century Portuguese battle ship when inflated. They are

WHY ARE THEY DANGEROUS? The man-of-war is venomous, giving a harmful sting if touched. The venom

contains a combination of amino acids unique to the man-of-war which it uses to paralyse prey., the sting may be fatal to humans if they suffer an allergic reaction, or if they have an existing condition. In rare cases, the sting may cause fever, shock, and alterations to heart and lung functions.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE ONE? The most important thing is not to touch the man-of-war. Even dead it is capable of giving a nasty sting. As the man-ofwar looks like a deflated balloon, it can be tempting to children, so try to keep children and pets away.

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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

WHAT IS A SIPHONOPHORE? Although siphonophores, such as the Portuguese man-of-war, look like one single organism, it is actually a colony of small individuals known as zooids. Each zooid serves a purpose within the colony for example some may act to defend the colony, others to feed and some for reproduction – working together to make sure the colony survives. These zooids are so specialised that they wouldn’t survive on their own. They can cluster or form long tentacles such as the Portuguese man-of-war’s stinging tentacles which may reach up to 30m long! The giant siphonophore (Praya dubia) is one of the longest animals in world and reach lengths of up to 50m.


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

“FLAMING LITTER” – WHY RELEASING

BALLOONS AND CHINESE LANTERNS HAS MORE OF AN IMPACT THAN YOU MIGHT THINK...

What comes to mind when you think of balloons and Chinese lanterns? Beauty? Magic? Remembrance? Celebration? Maybe, however, they can also be extremely harmful to the environment. In areas around the UK, Local Authorities have banned the release of balloons and Chinese lanterns due to the many adverse impacts they have. They are also a problem within the Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC, and the SAC Officer is aiming to work with the relevant Local Authorities to encourage a ban throughout the SAC counties.

WHY ARE BALLOONS AND LANTERNS AN ISSUE?

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Fire hazard: Chinese lanterns are a serious fire hazard. Lanterns are lit during times of celebration or remembrance and then released into the air. Of course, the lanterns must land somewhere, and if they are still alight, this could cause a fire. This would be especially devastating should the lantern land in flammable material such as hay, or a community area. Lanterns are most dangerous during the drier summer months, and there has been previous incidences of scorched gardens and roofs.

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Environmentally damaging: Throwing litter on the ground is a finable offence. Releasing lanterns and balloons into the air, however, is not considered littering. even though they can severely damage wildlife and the environment. Out at sea, animals can choke and become entangled, turtles, for example, mistake deflated balloons for jellyfish, swallowing them whole. This causes a blockage in the turtle’s digestive system and leads to starvation, and death. Balloons and lanterns also affect agricultural animals, as they graze and choke on the remains.

3

Mistaken for flares (false alarms): Chinese lanterns also cause false alarms for the Coastguard and the RNLI. They are mistaken for flares when drifting in the air. The RNLI has noted an increase in the number of lifeboat callouts resulting from lanterns. Beaches are also being littered with the remains, meaning someone must clear up the mess.

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Danger to aviation: Civil aviation authorities have reported a risk of balloons and lanterns being sucked into engines while flying. Lanterns may also damage aircraft engines, tyres, and fuselage when grounded. There is a significant fire risk relating to lanterns landing near aviation fuel tanks.

A THIRD OF BRITAIN’S FIRE BRIGADE SERVICES SAID THEY HAD RECEIVED EMERGENCY CALLOUTS TO EXTENGUISH LANTERNS BECAUSE OF THE THREAT BALLOONS POSE TO WILDLIFE, RELEASES HAVE BEEN BANNED BY OVER 20 LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN THE UK BALLOONS CAN CHOKE OR ENTANGLE WILDLIFE, CAUSING INJURY OR EVEN DEATH

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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

Some colourful characters that can be found in rockpools around the SAC Top left: Velvet swimming crab Bottom left: Snakelocks anemone Right page: Tompot blenny


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

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THE LAST STRAW

We know how stunning the coastline of Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau is, and we are excited to celebrate this, and the beauty of the whole Welsh coast, in next year’s, Year of the Sea. However, we are increasingly aware of marine litter on our shores, and the global challenge we face to stop this problem. Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year. The equivalent to dumping one rubbish truck of plastic per minute into the world’s oceans (United Nations Environmental Program 2017).

Marine litter is gaining the world’s attention and Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau is no exception. We cannot promote our wonderful seas and coastline without accepting this challenge exists and requires action. A litter project is underway in Cricieth, a town famous for its rich history, from its castle to its delicious ice cream, although, heartbreakingly, Cricieth is becoming increasingly known for its litter problem. Due to its location, Cricieth faces prevailing winds and strong tides, meaning a large amount of marine litter washes up on its beach. . Statistics from the UNEP show that 60-90% of rubbish found on beaches is plastic and Traeth Morannedd in Cricieth is no exception. The Llŷn Marine Ecosystems Project is leading a community project cleaning up the beach and surrounding area, as well as reducing the amount of litter generated by the town. The Town Council has been involved from the start and there is a real feeling of community spirit and ownership of the project. A section of beach is monitored regularly, following the Marine Conservation

Society’s methodology, and the data is added to 20 years’ worth of evidence. After each session, Dylan’s restaurant in Cricieth contribute a warm drink and cake to all volunteers, so not only do the volunteers feel good doing their bit, they socialise over a free paned a cacen afterwards…win win. Dylan’s has been especially active in helping with this project, not only providing refreshments free of charge, but have also agreeing to host the first

#2minutebeachclean station in North Wales. The board is a beach cleaning station, with a holder for litter pickers and bags. The idea is to make it easier for the public to help clean the beach, even if only for two minutes, then to post a picture on social media using the #2minutebeachclean hashtag, as an example to others. The first beach clean station was placed at Crooklets beach in Bude, north Cornwall, in September 2014. Since then, over 200 stations have been placed across the UK and Ireland, with Cricieth being the first in North Wales. Dylan’s Director David Evans said: “We’re always really keen to get involved with projects that help protect the coastal environment. Since we opened in Cricieth, we’ve been supporting regular community beach clean up sessions. The #2minutebeachclean board is another great way to encourage our customers


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

In 1997, 4.8million Lego toys fell overboard from the Tokio Express container ships. The Lego pieces are still being washed up on the shore and can be found on North Wales beaches.

Plastic never goes away, it just breaks down into smaller pieces – eventually into microscopic pieces that are eaten by plankton. Plastic pollution concentrates in areas knows as gyres caused by ocean currents. One gyre in the Pacific is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and is almost 6 times the size of the UK. More than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are thought to be killed by plastic every year.

and visitors to the town to play their part to keep our local beaches clean.” Cllr. Robert Dafydd Cadwalader added, “Criccieth Town Council is involved in the regular beach cleans and litter monitoring sessions organised by the Llŷn Marine Ecosystems Project. There are already a few walkers and visitors who pick up rubbish and this will encourage more to join in. This is a brilliant idea and the council fully supports it.”

course, the straws we pick up are not just from Cricieth, but from all over the world. The volunteers are keen to have Cricieth plastic straw free as part of this project. So, we’re aiming to get all restaurants, pubs, and cafes to stop using plastic straws. We have asked pubs, restaurants, and cafes in Cricieth to commit to finishing their stock of plastic straws and switching to biodegradable. So far 10 business have signed up to the campaign and that number continues to grow.

Arguably, the most influential part of this project has been our Last Straw campaign. Bags full of plastic have been collected by the project, providing valuable data into the types of plastics found on our beaches. Plastic straws are detrimental to the environment, many are taken to landfills, many end up in our seas, many have been collected by our volunteers on Moranned. Of

Due to the success of this work and the publicity it has received, other local communities, businesses, and schools have shown an interest in joining the project. After a talk in Ysgol Tudweiliog on the Llŷn Peninsular, pupils decided the school would no longer buy plastic straws. According to the head teacher, Mrs Einir Davis,

“We had a fantastic session with Catrin who was sharing information about the Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau conservation area and the importance of protecting the special wildlife around us. At the end of the presentation the pupils decided that we are going to stop using plastic straws during morning break and start using green biodegradable straws. An excellent idea kids!!” We are so proud of Ysgol Tudweiliog and hope that this positivity will snowball towards tackling this challenge, in Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau and all over the world.

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LLŶN MARINE ECOSYSTEMS PROJECT This project located in Pen Llŷn and based on the work of the Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Began off the back of a report produced by the Welsh Fishermen’s Association. The report proposed a method of sea management which would improve our understanding of the marine environment and promote ecosystem recovery, without detrimentally affecting local fishermen. This method safeguards cultural and economic life and works with traditional fisheries and recreational activities. Therefore, the Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC and the Welsh Fishermen’s Association jointly lead the project. This shows conservation and the fishing industry can go hand in hand and places great emphasis on joint management and consultation. The initial phase of the project produced a report exploring: • issues of marine litter and fisheries around Llŷn • the requirement for marine mammal deterrents on fishing gear in the Llŷn area • a Marine Code for recreational craft in Gwynedd • issues of co-management and an ecosystem-based approach to managing sea fisheries in the local Llŷn area An excellent example of this collaborative approach is that fishermen in Llŷn are helping us spread the word about how to use coastal waters without disturbing wildlife. The Llŷn Pot Fishermen’s Association has agreed to share our marine code with recreational boat and personal watercraft users. The fishermen have also agreed to report any cases of wildlife harassment to the

police. The Llŷn Pot Fishermen’s Association has agreed to share our marine code with recreational boat and personal watercraft users. The fishermen have also agreed to report any cases of wildlife harassment to the police. Molly Lovatt, partnership funding officer for Natural Resources Wales, said: “The fishermen are out at sea for long periods, and are best placed to promote the marine code with recreational boat users and report irresponsible behaviour if needed. “We’re really grateful for their help which will benefit marine wildlife, and make for a more pleasant environment for local people and visitors as well.” Steven Harrison, a local fisherman who sells his catch in the Sblash chip shop in Aberdaron, said: “This is a perfect example of how the fishing industry can work with conservation bodies to find an effective joint approach to conserving and managing our rich marine environment so that future generations can continue to benefit from and enjoy it.” The Llŷn Marine Ecosystems Project continues to work to help deliver specific projects with a focus on liaison and joint working with the local Llŷn fishing industry.


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DOLPHIN WATCH – A VOLUNTEER PERSPECTIVE Over the past two years our Dolphin Watch Project has been getting volunteers out and about to monitor Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau’s dolphin population. Valuable data is collected through the project which relies of the dedication of a team of volunteers such as Becky Price. Here’s Becky’s experience of taking part in the Dolphin Watch project…..


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atching closely, lifting my binoculars to and from my eyes, I focus on the small break in the waves. I sit waiting patiently for a good forty-five minutes, but nothing happens. I’m sat beside my partner Tommy, clipboard in hand, who is also scanning the sea on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in July. Perched on a rock along a popular stretch of the Wales Coastal Path between Abersoch and Porth Ceiriad, we are searching for telltale signs that dolphins and porpoises are in the area. Numerous sightings of dolphins are observed from this location throughout the year, and is now, rather appropriately, the first site for the Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau Dolphin Watch Scheme. I keep my eye on the break in the waves, scanning the surface of the sea. My two-hour time slot is nearly up, and my bottom is almost numb, when suddenly, Tommy shouts “Dolphins!!” He has just spotted a small pod of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) surfacing near the St Tudwal’s Islands. My eyes widen with excitement as I see their dorsal fins gliding up and down through the water. I feel practically giddy as I watch them with the heart-warming feeling that is growing in my chest. It is utterly surreal. Cardigan Bay and the waters around the Llŷn Peninsular is home to a large number of resident bottlenose dolphins, numbering around 200-300 animals annually, and we had just observed a group of them.

RECORDING THE EVIDENCE We keep our eyes on the dolphins when we hear the buzzing noise that could only be from a mass of jet skis. We spot them heading past the dolphins, close to where they are swimming. I begin to pray the skiers notice the dolphins, and follow the Gwynedd Marine Code. They begin to slow down, standing up off their seats and staring at the water. They had noticed the dolphins; that was certain. I begin to feel relieved, thinking they were slowing down to avoid disturbing them, however, they do a 90 degree turn and begin to drive their skis towards the pod. They aren’t following

the marine code. I watch with disbelief and write down with disappointment what was happening in front of me. This is why we are here; to determine whether the voluntary Gwynedd Marine Code is being followed. We aren’t just looking for dolphins and porpoises; we are noting their location, group size and activity on a map (with one map for every 15 minutes surveyed). The use of maps allows us to note how they use various parts of each site, and record where most boat encounters occur. Information on how boat users behave around dolphins is also collected, and referred directly to the Gwynedd Marine Code.

“Use a pair of binoculars or a scope as well as your naked eye to spot dolphins. This gives you a much better chance of spotting them at a distance!” -Mandy Price Wildlife enthusiast

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DOLPHIN WATCH AND THE MARINE CODE Cardigan Bay SAC and Ceredigion Council have been running a successful Dolphin Watch scheme in Cardigan Bay for a number of years; however, the scheme is only in its second year in Gwynedd. I found this surprising given there are an increasing number of watercraft around Welsh waters that are likely to encounter dolphins. Dolphins and other cetaceans are particularly sensitive to reckless human activities, after reports that irresponsible vesselusers were disturbing dolphins the Gwynedd Marine Code was introduced. The Llŷn Marine Ecosystems Project, led by Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC and the Welsh Fisherman’s Association, introduced the code in 2016. Many others are involved and support the project including Natural Resources Wales and Wales Environment Link.

“Watch for tell-tale signs that dolphins are in the area such as feeding birds circling above a particular spot or waves moving in the ‘wrong’ direction.” Tommy Taylor Dolphin Watch Volunteer

The development of a Dolphin Watch scheme by Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC will bring added value through monitoring the compliance to the voluntary Marine Code, whilst enabling the collection of valuable data and filling local evidence gaps. Dolphin Watch is a project that relies on the help of dedicated volunteers who collect data over a six-week period during the summer. Dolphin Watch needs more volunteers to help gather important data that will contribute to the protection of these amazing creatures. There really is nothing like the majesty and grace of dolphins and porpoises, and I am proud to say that I am one of the volunteers helping to protect them.

OUR TOP TIPS FOR SPOTTING DOLPHINS! ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME Expect to spend time waiting for them to show up – so dress warm in case the weather changes! CHECK THE WEATHER The best day for watching is a bright but cloudy day – high winds, heavy rain, mist, fog and bright sunshine make it hard to see what is on the surface of the water. REMEMBER YOUR BINOCULARS At some locations, it is possible to see the animals without binoculars but a good pair of 7x50 binoculars will vastly increase your chances of a good sighting. SCAN THE WATER Scan the water slowly from shore to horizon for tell-tale signs, alternating between your binoculars and your naked eye. LAND BASED WATCHING We recommend land-based watching to avoid disturbing the animals. Please follow the Gwynedd Marine Code if you are watching dolphins from watercraft. ABOVE ALL - HAVE PATIENCE! Patience is needed for all wildlife watching, and will increase your success of spotting them.


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GWYNEDD MARINE CODE There is nothing better than exploring the wild outdoors. We just need to ensure we are prepared and that we respect the environment we are in. Disturbance of marine mammals is an issue in Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC. This means that animals such as dolphins are pushed from feeding grounds, expending more energy and sometimes separated from their young. The Gwynedd Marine Code provides some guidelines for when you encounter marine mammals out at sea. By following the code, you reduce the likelihood that you will disturb them. The Marine Code is now available in Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy. All the local authorities involved have supported the Marine Code and have committed to distributing and promoting it. All four Marine Codes contain the same messages but each has some added local information.

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Gwynedd Marine Code In general keep a good look out and keep your distance. Do not approach marine mammals, let them come to you. Please operate all boats with care and attention for the safety of occupants and respect for all other sea users. Dolphins, Porpoises & Seals

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CETACEAN SPECIES THAT HAVE BEEN RECORDED IN WALES OVER THE LAST THREE DECADES

THE FIVE MOST COMMONLY REPORTED CETACEANS IN WELSH WATERS ARE THE HARBOUR PORPOISE, BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN, SHORTBEAKED COMMON DOLPHIN, RISSO’S DOLPHIN AND MINKE WHALE

If these creatures are encountered at sea please:  Slow

down gradually to minimum speed. Do not make sudden changes in speed or course.

 Do

This code applies to all recreational vessels including motor boats, yachts, dinghies, personal watercraft, kayaks and canoes. Always comply with requests from the local patrol boats and be aware of speed restrictions around bathing beaches and wildlife sites.

not steer directly towards them or approach within 100m. Birds  Do not attempt to touch, feed or swim with  Keep out from cliffs in the breeding season them. (1st March – 31st July).  Take

extra care to avoid disturbing animals with young.

 Do

not approach seals resting on the shore, and do not enter sea caves during the pupping season (1st August to 31st October).

 Do

 Avoid

making any unnecessary noise close to cliffs.

 Keep

clear of groups of birds resting or feeding on the sea.

not discard litter or fishing tackle at sea.

 Avoid

making any unnecessary noise near the animals.

Note that Gwynedd Harbourmasters and Launch Control Officers are authorised to withdraw launching and/or mooring permits from vessels and individuals not observing local regulations, byelaws or the Gwynedd Marine Code. Deliberate or reckless disturbance of any protected species (such as dolphins) is a criminal offence.

www.penllynarsarnau.co.uk @ACA_PLAS_SAC Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau

Prosiect Ecosystemau Morol Marine Ecosystems Project

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CETACEAN IDENTIFICATION So, you’ve seen a whale, dolphin or porpoise (Cetacean) and you’re not sure what it is? Following on from our top tips for watching marine mammals here’s some information about the 5 most common species seen in Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC and how you can identify them. First of all just watch and enjoy the sighting. Trying to get your camera out, looking through ID guides or unlocking your phone while the animal is there means you may miss the moment so just observe and take mental notes of some of the following characteristics:

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THE SHAPE AND SIZE OF THE DORSAL FIN

This is a real give away! Porpoises have small triangular dorsal fins whilst bottlenose, Risso’s, common dolphin and Minke whale have a sickle shaped trailing edge.

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COLOURATION

This doesn’t always help as what you might see may differ depending on the weather, the time of day or where the sun is in relation to the animal. But if conditions are good there are some key things to look out for – is it patterned, is it uniformly coloured or is it scarred?

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THE POSITION OF THE DORSAL FIN

Dolphins and porpoises have a dorsal fin roughly in the middle of the back. Minke and many other whale species have a small dorsal fin twothirds along the back.

BEHAVIOUR

The more you experience watching cetaceans in the wild the more you’ll be able to recognise distinctive behaviour. For example, porpoises have a distinctive rolling motion as they surface whilst bottlenose dolphins are much more active and acrobatic. Risso’s tend to breach and create huge splashes whilst common dolphins surface at speed always look like they’re going somewhere in a rush.

THE SHAPE OF THE HEAD

Sometimes this isn’t the easiest thing to see but if you do get a good look the shape of the head may give it away.

BLOW

All cetaceans have to surface to breathe. When they come up for air they open the blowhole and blow out old air before breathing in again. Because the shape and number of blowholes differ between species sometime you can tell which species it is by the shape of the blow. If you see blow you know that you’re looking at a whale as the blow of a porpoise or dolphin is too small to be visible from a distance.


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HERE’S A SUMMARY OF THE 5 COMMON CETACEAN SPECIES: HARBOUR PORPOISE (Phocoena Phocoena)

COMMON DOLPHIN (Delphinus delphis)

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus)

Small and stocky – Adult length 1.4 – 1.8 m

Large robust dolphin. Adult length 2 – 3.9m

Streamlined, small dolphin. Adult length 1.7 - 2.6m

Centrally placed dorsal fin which is small, low and triangular in shape

Distinct bulging forehead and short, rounded beak

Usually in small groups or lone individuals

Centrally placed, large, curved dorsal fin.

Hourglass’ pattern on sides; cream coloured at the front, and grey behind, with distinctive ‘point’ directly below dorsal fin

Dark in colour, with brown flanks

Small rounded head and no beak

Average group sizes can be from 1 – 20 but can be in their 100’s

Shy and unobtrusive, generally travel quite slowly

Uniformly dark grey to fading to light gray towards underside. White belly

Most commonly seen in groups of up to 50 individuals

Fast and energetic swimmers, acrobatic breaching and bow riding

Highly active, curious and acrobatic. Will breach and bow ride.

MINKE WHALE (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

RISSO’S DOLPHIN (Grampus griseus)

THE LARGEST SPECIES OF DOLPHIN IN THE WORLD IS THE KILLER WHALE WHICH IS A DOLPHIN NOT A WHALE.

Large dolphin – Adult length 2.6 3.8m

Medium sized whale – Adult length 7 – 10m

Distinctive bulbous forehead and short indistinct beak

Tall, curved dorsal fin, placed two thirds along back

The dorsal fin is prominent – tall and dark, located mid-way along the back

Brief arching roll, rarely lifts its tail flukes when diving

Often heavily scarred, adults become paler and more scarred with age

Slender streamlined body with pointed head

Group sizes 1 – 15 individuals

Most often seen slowly travelling, logging and breaching.

Large white diagonal stripes on flippers

Solitary animals, sometimes seen in pairs or small groups

DOLPHINS ONLY ALLOW HALF OF THEIR BRAINS TO SLEEP AT A TIME BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO BREATHE. ONE HALF HAS TO STAY AWAKE AND SO WHEN THE LEFT HALF OF THE BRAIN SLEEPS THE RIGHT EYE IS OPEN AND VICE VERSA. DOLPHINS COMMUNICATE USING CLICKS, WHISTLES AND SQUEAKS. BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS CAN LIVE FOR AT LEAST 40 YEARS.

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Some of the wonderful seabirds that can be seen around the SAC Top left: Kittiwake Bottom left: Razorbill Right page: Shag


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checks: the engine oil, water, bilge alarm etc. Once he is assured everything is OK and ready to go, he releases the mooring and sets off out into the cool Welsh waters.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FISHERMAN Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fisherman? Ever thought about the daily challenges they face to bring the rest of us our seafood? Then read on. Dyfed Davies; a dedicated fisherman in Porthdinllaen, tells me about a typical day in his life… Dyfed Davies is the proud owner of a fishing vessel at Porthdinllaen, known as ‘Steel Venture’, a boat working where the Irish Sea meets the stunning Welsh coast. He purchased Steel Venture from a friend in 2012 before he sold his beloved fast potter called ‘Ivy Ross’ whilst also working as a full time scallop and queenie fisherman aboard the ‘Harmoni MR7’. He is now the co-founder of Davies Shellfish Ltd. Dyfed begins his day in the early hours at his home village of Nefyn. Here,

he loads up his tractor and trailer with bait, fuel and other necessities such as buoys, rope, and pots. It’s heavy work, with the bait alone weighing in at around two-hundred kilos. Dyfed then drives over to Morfa Nefyn through the golf course and down to the sandy beach, where he loads a landing craft that he takes to access Steel Venture; which is already floating on the water. All of the equipment is quickly transferred from the loading craft to Steel Venture before he begins to complete his customary

As he drives out, the seabirds begin to recognise the boat and what it means for them – food. However, Dyfed doesn’t mind them swirling around his boat hoping to get an easy meal. He likes to think of them as old sea captains watching over his daily work. Dyfed travels out to sea to make his typical catch, which since January 2017, has been Whelks. Whelks can be caught yearround, unlike scallops, which can only be caught from the 1st of November to the end of April. Once Dyfed reaches his first fishing spot (which can range from being two minutes, to an hour or more from shore), he begins to lay out a string of about five-hundred pots, depending on weather. The weather plays a huge role in determining how successful Dyfed is, not only during the day, but throughout the course of the year. Fishing is Dyfed’s only income, and the amount he earns is greatly dependent on the window of opportunity that he is able to fish. Bad weather obviously


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reduces this time greatly, and he has noticed opportunities to fish arise more during Spring than Summer. However, he is still able to cover most of the bay during the fishing season. To achieve this, Dyfed spends long hours out at sea, between 5 and sixteen hours in fact. At times, he may even spend a tiresome twenty-four hours in a row. His time out at sea is dependent on the tide, weather, and effort required to make his catch. Occasionally, Dyfed catches some species unintentionally, such as octopus. However, any species that finds its way on to the boat with no market value is returned safely and as quickly as possible. Dyfed also finds himself bringing clumps of litter aboard, which is unsurprising given the state of our seas. He feels he has a moral obligation to bring the litter back to shore and dispose of it properly. Sadly,

litter is now a frequent ‘catch’ of many fishermen. As Dyfed and his crew are considered ‘day boat fisherman’, there’s no need to refrigerate his catch, as all of the catch is landed alive. At the end of the day, the whelks are hauled up from the beach with a tractor and trailer, and are then transported to Fleetwood in an arctic lorry where they are processed. The majority of his catch is sent to Korea with some going to Europe. Not only are his days long and onerous, he also faces many other challenges on a day to day basis. From the 1st of November each year, Steel Venture goes out scallop dredging, towing 3 dredges each side, working between the 3 mile limit, and approximately a mile from shore. This is where he faces one of his biggest challenges. There is an increasing amount of pressure from other boats outside the Welsh locality, who Dyfed

and other local fishermen, are having to compete with to make their catch. This generally means that locals have to work around the clock. Additionally, Dyfed and other fishermen are restricted to where they are allowed to fish, as some areas are prohibited to protect sensitive habitats or species. However, he and other local fishermen are already a selfmaintaining community as they impose a restrictive fishing quota themselves, agreeing to work only five hundred pots per day when whelk fishing. They have a truly remarkable attitude to fishing responsibly, and Dyfed believes that the Porthdinllaen fishing community are unique in this way. Nonetheless, he believes the Welsh coast needs greater fishery protection, and that the waters should be patrolled regularly to police the activities taking place on our watery doorstep. Fishing is not just a wage packet to Dyfed and the other four boats that operate in Porthdinllaen. They are a striving community of dedicated fishermen, and they hope that, one day, they will be able to manage Caernarfon Bay by themselves. Despite facing numerous challenges every day, Dyfed still loves what he does. He has been fishing since he was 12 years old; often skipping school just so he could get out on the water! Dyfed has always been a professional fisherman, and he has no intention of changing that. Fishing runs through his family bloodline. His grandfather was a fisherman and boat-builder, and both of his parent’s brothers were fishermen. He found his relatives love of boats, fishing, and the sea to be infectious as a boy, and now, aged 34, Dyfed couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Dyfed considered himself a lad who was mesmerised by his family’s stories of the sea. Now, he has his own stories to tell, in a profession where he is constantly learning, and no day is the same.

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ROCKPOOLING! We all love to rummage around the rockpools and Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau’s coast doesn’t disappoint when it comes to exploring the shores!

SUNSTAR

BLUE RAYED LIMPET

LOBSTER

BEADLET ANENOME

The tide is something that is a ‘given’ - something that just happens - but we don’t often think about how it works and what effect it has on our coastal wildlife. We’ve all been told at some point in our lives that the tides are caused by the moon and this is largely true, but the tide is a complex process caused by a combination of the effects of gravitational forces exerted on the earth by the moon and the sun and also the rotation of the earth. Because of this, tide times and amplitude have a predictable daily, monthly and annual cycle which mean that there is a certain time of day at a certain time of year when the tide is at its lowest and best for exploring rockpools. Generally, the highest spring tides of the year happen after the equinoxes in March and September when night and day are of equal length and when the forces which cause the tide are at their strongest. It is then that the weird and wonderful creatures that are usually never uncovered by the tide can be seen. Creatures such as squat lobsters, blue-rayed limpets, sunstars, sea slugs and all sorts of anemones, which are amongst some of my favourites. The ability of rocky shore creatures to withstand exposure to air, varying temperatures and many other environmental conditions determines their position on the shoreline and causes a phenomenon known as rocky shore zonation. The zones can actually be clearly seen if you look along a rocky shoreline at low tide. For example, creatures such as barnacles and limpets can withstand being out of the water for extended periods of time and therefore tend to live high on the shore whereas others such as the dahlia anemone can only withstand being uncovered for short periods of time during spring tides and are found lower down the shoreline. The lower zones may only be exposed for a short time during the big spring tides and, as the pools in these areas generally reflect the creatures found in the shallow seas around Wales, this is your opportunity to see creatures that you would not normally find whilst rockpooling. To make the most of your rockpooling session head out about four hours after high tide taking a couple of hours to follow the ebbing tide to its lowest point (about 6 hours after high tide) before it turns and starts coming back in. In reality all you need is a container - an old margarine pot will suffice - and I’d suggest using a white pot as creatures will stand out better against a white backdrop. A small net is also useful, the type used for a household fish tank is best. Care should always be taken when rockpooling - always be aware of what the tide is doing - you can very easily be stranded by the tide especially when you have your bum in the air and your eyes glued to the pools!

VELVET SWIMMING CRAB


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ROCKPOOLING AROUND PEN LLŶN A’R SARNAU:

You can rockpool almost anywhere, even sandy beaches have small areas of rocks which can be explored, but here are a few places we love to go:

1. PORTH COLMON

A great spot for rockpooling, head either way from the car park and just explore.

2. PORTHDINLLAEN

There are some fantastic rockpools to the right, with a low enough tide you can head to the little islands but be careful to not stand on the seagrass.

3. ABERDARON

Head to the beach and turn right, you’ll see patches of rocks and seaweed. A great place to look under the stones but make sure you put them back how you find them!

5. PWLLHELI

Rummage under the seaweed and nooks and crannies in the rocks along the harbour wall.

6. CRICIETH

The best rockpools are on the shore beneath the castle!

WHEN ROCKPOOLING ALWAYS KNOW WHETHER THE TIDE IS COMING IN OR GOING OUT!

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THE WALES COAST PATH IS RATHER UNIQUE… Why? Because Wales is the first country in the world to have a dedicated footpath along it’s entire coast. That’s a total of 870 miles or 1,400 km long! With start / finish points on the border with Chester (North) and Chepstow (South), you can choose to start from either end of the country to start your epic journey!

Why walk the Wales Coast Path? The path meanders through some well -known Welsh coastal towns and villages like Tenby in Pembrokeshire, the popular Victorian town of Llandudno in the North with key links such as the round trip of 125 miles around the Isle of Anglesey, offering you a flavour of

what this small but epic country has to offer.

It’s a journey not a race… Don’t let the big mileage put you off from walking the Wales Coast Path – it can be easily broken down into bite sized manageable chunks from just a half a mile stroll on the promenade in Llandundo to full day sections like from Trefor to Nefyn (9 and a quarter miles / 15 kms) for example. That’s the beauty of the path, you can


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Don’t let the big mileage put you off from walking the Wales Coast Path – it can be easily broken down into bite sized manageable chunks

come back time and time again and tick off all those parts of the path that you’ve always wanted to walk and discover what’s in your area.

Where can I find more information? The Wales Coast Path website: www.walescoastpath.gov.uk (CY: http://www. walescoastpath.gov.uk/?lang=cy&) has lots of useful and practical information to help plan your trip from online maps to distance tables. All 7 of the Wales Coast Path Guidebooks are also available from the official publishers Northern Eye.

Find and follow us…. We’re very social on social media - follow us for all the latest news of the path and some fantastic pictures of the Welsh coastline!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/walescoastpath Twitter https://twitter.com/WalesCoastPath Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/walescoastpath Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/walescoastpath Google + https://plus.google.com/+WalescoastpathGovUk

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ARE WELSH WATERS A HAVEN FOR ANGELSHARKS? The Irish Sea is an expanse of water covering approximately 45,000km that separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. Most of Welsh territorial waters are within the Irish Sea, the rest is within the Bristol Channel.

Angelshark caught off Barmouth 1989, by Ron Greenfield. Photo supplied by June Owen.

The economic value of the Irish Sea was estimated to be around ÂŁ6 billion per year according to a study in 2004 and this is represented by a number of activities including commercial fisheries (predominantly shellfisheries), recreational activities (including diving, sea angling, sailing, wind surfing, kite surfing) as well as a number of renewable energy developments, aggregate dredging and active oil and gas drilling platforms. The area gives rise to a diverse range of marine habitats including rocky reefs, mudflats and sandflats,

biogenic honeycomb worm and horse mussel reefs, oyster beds and seagrass meadows. All of which support a multitude of important species from pink sea fans to harbour porpoise. There are at least thirty species of shark, skate and ray that utilise the Irish Sea, many of which are seasonal visitors including the mako, thresher and porbeagle shark, as well as the world’s second largest fish, the basking shark. Some species stay in these waters all year round like the lesser spotted dogfish, blonde ray and thornback

Once widespread across Europe, the Angelshark (Squatina squatina) has dramatically declined over the last 100 years and are now considered extremely rare across the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea ray. One of the rarest species found in these waters is the Critically Endangered Angelshark. Once widespread across Europe, the Angelshark (Squatina squatina) has dramatically declined over the last 100 years and are now considered extremely rare across the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, with just a few populations remaining. The Angelshark is now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, with the waters around the Canary Islands being the only place where they are frequently


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Photo by Carlos Suarez, Oceanos de Fuego

sighted. Angel sharks (Squatinidae) are the second most threatened species of sharks behind sawfishes (Pristidae). However there have been an increasing number of accidental captures of these rare fish off the Welsh coast in recent years, which shows they are still present in Welsh waters. The extent of the population is unknown, but it could be critical for the future survival

of this iconic species. Now scientists from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) as part of the Angel Shark Project are teaming up with commercial fishers, recreational anglers and others all around the coast of Wales to find out more about the abundance and behaviour of our Angelshark population.

Launch of the Angelshark Information and best handling guidance leaflet – Picture left to right: Ben Wray (Natural Resources Wales), Jake Davies (NRW student placement), Tom Hughes (Llyn Angling), Joanna Barker (Zoological Society London)

As part of the project people are being asked to report all accidental catches of Angelshark, and being given advice (see Angelshark leaflet) on how to handle and release them safely back into the water unharmed.

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Angelsharks in Wales: they need your help! We need information from fishers to help us understand where Angelsharks are found in Welsh waters to better conserve this Critically Endangered species. Angelsharks are also known as monkfish, monk or angel fish!

Follow guidelines

Do not target Angelsharks are heavily protected in Welsh waters and it is illegal to target this species

If you accidentally catch an Angelshark when fishing, follow the guidelines overleaf to release it in the best condition

Report your sighting Report your Angelshark sighting to angelsharknetwork.com/#map or to tom@llynangling.net and help conserve this species

What is an Angelshark? The Angelshark (Squatina squatina) is a large flat-bodied shark that can reach 2.4m long.

It feeds on a range of fish, crustaceans and molluscs and has an important role in maintaining a balanced marine ecosystem.

It is sometimes mistaken for a ray or mis-recorded as Anglerfish as both species share the same common name: Monkfish or Monk.

Angelsharks in Wales: why is reporting important? Angelsharks were once widespread throughout the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Following decades of decline, they have disappeared from much of the former range. However, accidental captures of Angelsharks in Wales show that the species is still present here. Urgent action is needed to better understand how many Angelsharks use Welsh waters and where they are found.

©

How are Angelsharks protected in Wales? • •

It is Prohibited to intentionally disturb, target, injure or kill Angelsharks within 12nm of Welsh and English coastlines (Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) For commercial fishers, it is Prohibited to target, retain, tranship or land Angelsharks for all EU and third country vessels in EU waters. All discards >50 kg must be logged. (Council Regulation (EU) No. 2017/127)

Ca

rlo

s Sua rez

Best-practice guide to safely release Angelsharks if accidentally caught Although Angelsharks should not be targeted, this guidance has been developed with fishers to reduce mortality if they are accidentally caught.

2. In-boarding on a boat (ONLY if necessary)

1. Unhooking

All interaction with Angelsharks should be minimised. If you need to in-board the Angelshark to unhook it safely, use a large landing net to bring it onto the boat. Never use a gaff.

Record the size and sex of the Angelshark. Male sharks have two claspers (long appendages) behind the pelvic fin.

To support the internal organs and reduce chance of injury.

This information helps us to understand population structure

Place it on a cool, wet, soft surface (e.g. a wet towel). Place a towel soaked in seawater over the eyes. Unhook the Angelshark in the water (on the side of the boat or in knee-depth water on the coast). If you have to cut the leader, cut it as close to the hook as possible.

To keep it calm and stop thrashing.

Water supports its internal organs.

3. Handling (ONLY if necessary) Never hold the Angelshark just by its tail, its fins or by the gills; you need to support the underside of the shark. To support the internal organs and reduce chance of injury.

4. Releasing Release the Angelshark as soon as possible after unhooking. Lower it into the water facing the tide or waves. Forces oxygen through its gills so that it can quickly swim away.

Advice on fishing tackle

Please use the following gear to reduce injury to sharks if accidentally caught Always use barbless brass hooks (or another hook with the barb flattened down)

5. Reporting Report your accidental capture on angelsharknetwork.com/#maps or to tom@llynangling.net We will use this information to better understand and conserve Angelsharks.

To reduce the chance of gut hooking so that it is easier to unhook the shark. Use a strong line.

STRONG

To reduce the likelihood of the line snapping and the shark trailing gear.

Above: Angelshark Information and best-handling guidance leaflet for Wales

WHAT IS AN ANGELSHARK? These large, flat-bodied sharks can reach 2.4m in length. Also known as monkfish or angel fish, they are sometimes mistaken for a ray or mis-recorded as anglerfish. Angelsharks feed on a range of fish, crustaceans and molluscs and have an important role in maintaining a balanced marine ecosystem. They are not threatening to humans, living mainly on sand or mud at the bottom of the sea, preying on small fish and molluscs. Commercial fishers and anglers have been reporting an increase in accidental captures of Angelsharks in recent years but it is unclear what this means. Very little is known about the ecology of the Angelshark in Welsh waters at the moment – the population could be present all year round, or only for part of the year. The data that the project is gathering will help to build up a much better picture of the situation in Wales and help with work to conserve these amazing creatures. Jim Evans of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association stated that “The value of local ecological knowledge is often over looked; fishermen are important sentinels of the sea and understand the importance of maintaining biodiversity. “Angelsharks have been observed by commercial fishermen off the Welsh coast for many years, to have the opportunity to improve our understanding of the Welsh population dynamics is an important collaboration that is welcomed by and a credit to Welsh fishermen.”

ANGELSHARK AND THE PEN LLŶN A’R SARNAU Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC (Special Area of Conservation) is an important area for Angelshark records off the Welsh coast. The shallow sandy coastal waters of Cardigan Bay with the presence of rocky reef close by provide ideal habitat for Angelsharks. Historically, Angelsharks were commonly reported in the 1960’s and early 1970’s during the summer months in the inshore waters of North

East Cardigan Bay, where anglers reported catching large individuals up to 2.4m. The UK shore angling record for the Angelshark was also set in Cardigan bay off Llangwyril beach in 1984 which weighed 52lbs. Despite the report of this large individual, records of Angelsharks in the late 1970’s and 1980’s declined with several years reporting zero sightings or accidental catches. The reasons for the decline are not clear but might include general population wide reductions in Angelsharks, changes in commercial fishers gear and reduced effort by recreational anglers in the area. In recent years reports of Angelsharks have appeared to increased. Since 2000 there have been 33 verified reports of Angelsharks within the SAC, which is 70% of the total for all Welsh reports over the same period. Most individuals were large adults but there have also been reports of juveniles. It is not clear what the reasons are for this apparent increase but it might indicate that Welsh waters, in particular the area around the Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC could be a haven for Angelsharks and numbers are beginning to increase. Another possible reason for the increase in records may be down to increased awareness of the need to report catches of Angelsharks and the accessibility of social media to aid this process. It is therefore important that we gather as much information on historic as well more recent records so we can look at potential trends over time. Reported sightings submitted to the Wales data gathering project are primarily from charter boat and commercial fishers who accidentally catch Angelsharks, but we welcome sightings from all members of the public to help improve our records and we would encourage anyone with any historic, current and future records of Angelsharks in Wales to report any sightings.

HOW TO REPORT YOUR SIGHTINGS Information from you will help us to better understand the ecology of Angelsharks in the waters around Wales


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

Photo by Carlos Suarez, Oceanos de Fuego

and we would encourage anyone with any historic, current and future records of Angelsharks in Wales to report any sightings. You can report where you have spotted an Angelshark to: https://angelsharknetwork.com/#map or email tom@llynangling.net

FOLLOW GUIDELINES It is illegal to target Angelsharks, but if you accidentally catch one when fishing follow our best practice guide to release it in a good condition. The Angelshark guidance was developed in collaboration with several partners including ZSL, the Welsh Fishermen’s Association and the Shark Trust.

HOW ARE ANGELSHARKS PROTECTED IN WALES? • It is illegal to intentionally disturb, target, injure or kill Angelsharks within 12 nautical miles of Welsh and English coastlines (Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) • For commercial fishers, it is illegal to target, retain, tranship or land Angelsharks for all EU and third country vessels in EU waters. All discards >50 kg must be logged. (Council Regulation (EU) No. 2017/127)

NEXT STEPS… Natural Resources Wales is currently working with ZSL to secure funding and expand the work across Wales in 2018, helping to increase awareness of Angelsharks in Welsh waters and better understand the areas important in the life cycle of the species.

The value of local ecological knowledge is often over looked; fishermen are important sentinels of the sea and understand the importance of maintaining biodiversity

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O Dan y Don Issue 1 2018

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

DOLPHIN WATCH

BEACH CLEANS

If you would like to spend some time in a fantastic location looking for dolphins then maybe Dolphin Watch is for you! We are currently operating from Abersoch but do hope to expand to other areas. We ask volunteers to adopt a two hour slot once a week for approximately 6 weeks over the summer months. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience, we offer training to make sure you are comfortable with the survey methods and know what to look for. If you are interested, please get in touch or keep an eye on our social media pages for more details.

Taking part in a beach clean is an excellent way to help look after the marine environment. There are many beach cleans arranged across the site all year round, you can just turn up and take part! Keep an eye on our social media pages for up to date information. If joining a group is not your thing why not take a bag with you and spend a little time cleaning a beach of your choice? Or if you are in Cricieth you can take part in the #2minbeachclean – information board and equipment can be found outside Dylan’s Restaurant on the beach.

REDUCE SINGLE USE PLASTIC Marine litter, especially plastics, is now a global issue. Single use plastic bags, food wrappers, straws and plastic bottles are just a few of things that are finding their way in to our oceans. A great way you can help is to reduce the amount of single use plastic items you use and recycle when you can. You can also ask for non-plastic or biodegradable items when out and about. This is a global issue but each and every one of us can make a difference.


Issue 1 2018 O Dan y Don

SHARE IDEAS

BECOME A COASTODIAN

CO-COAST

We run a number of projects in Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau and we welcome any ideas or input you might have. If you have any comments, ideas or would like more information, please do get in touch.

If you love a beach or stretch of coast near you, you may be interested in becoming a Community COASTodian. Becoming a COASTodian allows people who visit their local beauty spot regularly to play a vital part in its care by checking the condition of paths, collecting litter, monitoring wildlife, informing the local ranger of any issues and helping others enjoy the site. The work of the COASTodians is incredibly valuable, helping the National Trust keep their coastal sites at their best for nature as well as the people that visit them.

Co-coast is looking for volunteers to survey local beaches. So if you like spending time down at the beach and would like to learn a bit more about what you are seeing get in touch with the co-coast team.

REPORT WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS If you see interesting wildlife whilst you are out and about, let someone know. By reporting your sightings, you are helping us to build a better picture of what we have along our coast.

More information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/ calling-all-coastodians

FOLLOW THE MARINE CODE If you are out on the water, a great way to reduce your impact is to follow the Marine Code and let others know about it too. This is all about making sure we don’t disturb our marine mammals whilst we are out at sea. The main principles to follow are: - Reduce your speed - Maintain direction - Keep your distance

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info@penllynarsarnau.co.uk www.penllynarsarnau.co.uk 01286 679495

@ ACA_PLAS_SAC Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau

O Dan y Don - Issue 1  

Welcome to the first edition of O Dan y Don! This magazine gives you a glimpse of the underwater world and an insight into some of the work...

O Dan y Don - Issue 1  

Welcome to the first edition of O Dan y Don! This magazine gives you a glimpse of the underwater world and an insight into some of the work...

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