The first artificial reef is now on the seabed and maturing nicely in readiness to stock with Juvenile lobsters!
Yes, after 3 years spent acquiring all necessary permissions to develop Britain’s first artificial reef sanctuary, the first of four reefs has been laid.
Lobster Restocking Reef
1,750 ton of specially graded stone was successfully deployed in March of this year and this now forms the nucleus of the lobster restocking reef. A ring of larger pyramid shaped stones will now be placed around the perimeter of the reef which will encourage the juvenile lobsters to hang around until they are robust enough to venture out into the wider environment and breed.
Talks are under way with the local fishing authority, Southern IFCA to supply thousands of baby lobsters to seed the reef for a three year period. In the meantime, the National Lobster Hatchery at Padstow has agreed to provide the first batch of juveniles this coming summer to tide us over whilst we put our case to the IFCA Committees. Hoorah for Padstow!
In order to fund the outer ring of the reef, a plan has been devised to sell the individual pyramid stones to people wishing to incorporate their ashes within them, after cremation. These stones are to be called Solace Stones and they will eventually form a circular memorial reef which will enhance the marine environment in the vicinity. This will begin in the spring of 2013.
Dr Antony Jenson and Dr Ken Collins of the National Oceanographic Centre kindly helped with the design of the Solace Stones to ensure their suitability.
The idea behind the community reef was to encourage a wider interest base within the undersea world by allowing people such as artists to build their own version of a reef and lo-and-behold, a gallery from Brighton, the Fabrica Gallery has popped-up and wants to sink a concrete sculpture or ‘installation’. The artistic designer will be the world renowned Simon Faithful and the installation will be filmed as it sinks and then a live video stream will link to the Fabrica gallery and also their partner galleries in Paris and Caen.
More projects are needed to fill the community reef area so anyone with an idea (and funding to see it through) please contact W2R.
W2R is now in the frustrating position of having permission to scuttle two warships but no funding in place to carry this out.
We have asked the Defence Minister Peter Luff to consider gifting decommissioned warships to dive groups by Governmental Deed of Gift on three occasions now and three times he has said this was not possible.
Our economic case is a simple one; sinking a ship as a diver attraction generates as much or more money into the local economy, annually, than the one off payment that is received by the MOD if the ship is cut up for razor blades.
We had previously been using the example of the six decommissioned warships that the Australia Government has gifted to dive groups but new evidence has come to light that many other countries around the world are gifting their warships. Increasingly, countries are recognising and embracing this as standard best practice to recycle their national assets for the economic benefit of their respective countries. These countries now include European countries such as Spain and more recently, this year, Portugal. Britain is way behind the curve on this.
W2R has decided to organise a delegation to meet with a Treasury Minister to ask that a financial dispensation be given to the MOD in order to allow them to gift ships and balance their books at the same time.
Momentum is growing and the organisations who have agreed to take part in the delegation include the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, and the Borough Council. The Sussex dive group, Sink-one-4-Sussex is willing to attend. An MP will soon be chosen to approach the Minister and organise the meeting.
Two high profile environmental celebrities, Monty Halls and Paul Rose have agreed to champion the W2R project and this will help raise our project profile. Watch this space.
W2R Consultative Committee
The first Consultative Committee meeting was held in June of this year at County Hall, Dorchester. The meeting was attended by most of the W2R stakeholders and demonstrates that seabed areas can indeed be managed by the community, for the community.
The next meeting is to be held this month, December 2012.