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2017 September October Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT Young people on a mission to clean up the water at Jachthaven Wetterville in the Netherlands (left) land their catch (below). TransEurope and the Blue Flag In a year that marks the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, TransEurope Marinas joined with the Blue Flag in celebrating a 30th anniversary and the importance of collaborative, far-sighted environmental management. TransEurope Marinas is an association of over 70 marinas across Europe, with a number of members who have been dedicated followers of the Blue Flag programme for many years. An established culture of environmental management and education has led many marinas to start thinking beyond their boundaries; taking proactive steps to enlighten themselves and others about sensitive nearby areas or about the best way to reduce impact on the local environment. Members regularly share ideas and import successful solutions to their own marinas. There is no doubt that our seas and coastlines comprise a stimulating and challenging environment. A beautiful local sailing arena is a dramatically valuable asset for yacht harbours, but it is clear that local ecosystems require vigilance, protection and maintenance to remain healthy. In simple terms, how much nicer to sail out in clean seas, uncluttered by flotsam and jetsam and enjoy the pleasures of observing marine and birdlife than drifting over a seabed littered with discarded rubbish and devoid of life? Education and information Blue Flag criteria identify the following four priorities: environmental education and information; environmental management; safety and service facilities; and water quality. It is significant that education and information tops the list. Across the board, members have sought out ways to both inform themselves and then communicate this knowledge in order to teach and inspire. Engaging with local conservationists or wildlife enthusiasts can open up an immense vista of fascinating insights revealing the extraordinary sophistication and complexity of local marine habitats and, if endangered species or marine protected areas are clearly identified as such, visitors are more likely to be able to make informed decisions. Puerto Deportivo Gijón in Asturas, has joined forces with biologists to help identify the local sealife and gone on to study the existence of exotic and invasive species in the local waters. The marina has even prepared publications documenting its results and also handed out advice on good environmental practice. Like other marinas, it has also organised open days for various sectors of the local community to help promote more informed interaction with the marina sphere. In Belgian marina VVW Nieuwpoort, where a significant increase in water quality over the last few years has 26 www.marinaworld.com - September/October 2017

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT meant that wildlife has started to return to the marina, six seals are now in residence. Communication with visitors and berth holders provides further beneficial results. “At several places in the marina we’ve put up information boards informing everybody about the bird and wildlife in the marina, which is then mentioned regularly on Facebook. We see our members and guests checking the board to identify their sightings, making them more aware of their presence. We hope this increased awareness will eventually lead our members to take more care of their habitat,” says Yannick Lafère. Lanzarote in the Canaries enjoys the status of a Biosphere Reserve; a designation that celebrates man’s respectful interaction with his landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage. Along the lee coasts of Lanzarote and the neighbouring isle, up to a third of the world’s cetacean species have been identified, with many observations reported by visiting and local sailors. When sailors staying in Puerto Calero requested more information, the marina team sought the advice of local and national conservation groups and produced a panel that locates and Fun for the family at Puerto Calero? Make it ‘eco-fun’! An ‘upcycled’ boat makes for an environmentally friendly and eyecatching marina office desk at Wetterville. describes the nearby sensitive areas; detailing species of interest, their characteristics and the most common threats to their survival. Quinta do Lorde Marina in a Green Key resort is another member based in Macaronesia; one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The team there follows similar strategies of cooperation between marina, social and conservation stakeholders. “We encourage the promotion of scientific studies on the marine biodiversity of the area and the use of renewable energy sources in the operation of the marina. For this, we are associated with the Department of Biology of the University of Madeira (UMa) and we have a protocol established with MARE [scientific research to seek excellence in the study of aquatic ecosystems and disseminate knowledge to support policies for sustainable development],” explains Joana Aguiar. Educational activities this year at Quinta do Lorde have included raising awareness about the negative impact of rubbish in protected wildlife areas, composting and tree planting. The team has also studied the biodiversity within its own marina and the threat of micro organisms arriving on overseas sailing yachts, and has housed exhibitions that juxtapose the beauty and magnificence of local cetaceans with maritime pollution. Despite steps taken to reduce a carbon footprint, addressing contamination concerns and switching to less harmful products and behaviour, many problems still remain for the industry. Tackling existing problems means finding resourceful answers. In Saint-Valery- Sur-Somme in the beautiful Somme estuary in northern France, where sports fishing is a popular leisure pursuit, the marina manager has sought to mitigate some of the harmful effects of the sport by organising trips where fishermen are encouraged to change their habits and fish for more sustainable species. He also takes the time to carefully explain how to make use of the currents for the purpose of reducing fuel consumption. Over in the Netherlands, familyowned Jachthaven Wetterwille, under the helm of managing director Mieke Vleugels CMM, was one of the first national sites to be awarded the Green Pennant for excellence in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Over the last three years Vleugels and her team have planted a green roof on top of an existing showroom as a camping ground for visitors and equipped a studio with 80% vintage and salvaged goods. This summer, the marina introduced an educational programme against plastic in the water, starting with a big clean-up event timed to take place on World Water Day (22nd March). “Staff raised awareness about plastic debris in the water and its devastating effect on local fauna and flora. Recycling bags and fishnets were handed out with each boat rental and kids – or adults – who returned with a full bag of flotsam got a free ice cream. Jachthaven Wetterwille firmly believes that small actions like these make a big difference and that marina, tenants and berth holders can work together for a cleaner and greener world,” notes Catherine Kosters. Safety and confidence TransEurope Marinas has various individual initiatives, some of which tackle safety concerns while others serve to boost confidence out on the water. Members have been inspired by successful fund raising projects at www.marinaworld.com - September/October 2017 27

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