Is there shark in our fish and chips? Shocking discovery on the Isle Of White

Fish and chip shops have been told to check their stock for shark meat after the gruesome discovery of scores of carcasses on the Isle of Wight.

A resident of the island was left horrified after stumbling across a mound of severed heads and fins of smooth-hound sharks, which are completely harmless to humans.

After a picture of his shocking find appeared on Facebook, government officials have urged chip shops to ensure they know what they are selling.

shark pictures

Shark meat is often used in pet food and fish meal but can also be passed off as huss or rock salmon, which are sold in takeaways around Britain.

It is thought an unlicensed trawler may have landed the sharks, before their valueless heads and fins were cut off, leaving only the meat.

Kevin Parker, who found the remains of what he estimates at more than 50 of the animals, said local residents had been shocked by what had been found.

The Food Standards Agency, which monitors the quality of food in restaurants and shops, has since issued guidance to anyone selling fish.

A spokesman said: ‘Fish must be what it claims to be on the label or the menu and food businesses must make sure they buy their fish from reputable sources.’

Conservationists are also concerned because the smooth-hound species has been classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Richard Peirce, chairman of the Shark Trust, warned that fishing for sharks is becoming increasingly common in British waters.

After viewing a photo of the latest find, he said: ‘I’m always disappointed at the waste of vulnerable or endangered species.’

He called for limits on how many sharks fisherman can land in a bid to stop the rising numbers being caught.

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Cutty Sark Replica project – What is it?


design documents
Who we are?

The initiators of the project are a team of highly motivated people, with high quality knowledge of building traditional ships, operating them with all the logistics and P.R., all with long standing experience in all the different aspects of the Tall Ship’s world, headed by Captain Vladimir Martus, owner and builder of the ‘Shtandart’, a replica of the first naval vessel of Russia, built by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703.Vladimir Martus has constructed this vessel, launched her in the year 2000 and ever since she is sailing the seas as one of the few traditionally built replica ships in the world.


To reconstruct, maintain and exploit a replica of the clipper ship ‘Cutty Sark’ as an operational sailing vessel and a living memorial to the era of sailing ships. to encourage education and training in seamanship of young persons of all nations. to provide facilities for the promotion of sail-powered shipping as an environmentally friendly alternative.


The Cutty Sark Replica is an international project

As the original Cutty Sark was constructed from materials that came from various countries and during her active life she sailed the seven seas, we want this project to be international in all its different aspects.
It should also be accessible to people of all nations and all walks of life, and when finished sail the world as an ambassador not of just one country, but as a living proof of unity between people with heart and soul for traditional ships and the seas.


cutty sark replica post



Costa Concordia – what will remain?

 costa sunk

By Dr Chris Ware


On 13 January 2012 Costa Concordia collided with rocks and went over on her beam ends sinking in shallow water off the Island of Giglio. What followed was both a farce and a tragedy, a Captain who left his vessel only to be ordered by the Coast Guard to return, and the deaths of thirty two people. The ships herself would be both an object of morbid fascination, as well as, potentially,   an ecological time bomb.   What was set in train was to be the largest salvage attempt on any vessel, it is perhaps pure coincidence that today 14th July is Bastille Day, the date set by the weather rather than any other consideration. The Concordia had previously been righted, having first had much of the fuel oil pumped out, and a platform built on the seabed on which she would rest.


With caissons and bracing wires attached she will be slowly raised 1.5 meters, as much to see if the hull, distorted and holed by collision, will stay intact, before she would be raise further and one last search made for the one member of the crew who was not found, a reminder, amongst all the engineering marvels on display, of the human cost. And what next, Costa Concordia will be towed to the mainland at a genteel 2 knots and then docked and dismantled.  After all this what will remain? Perhaps some small pieces of the vessel on the seabed off the Island of Giglio; iconic pictures of a leviathan of the sea stricken as much by hubris as the rocks which tore into her hull and lives irrevocably changed.

The ecosystem of the English Channel has been transformed by fishing, report shows







A new report (10th July 2014) shows that many fish species, especially those at the top of the food chain, are faring badly in the English Channel.

The report’s authors say that this is evidence of “fishing down the food chain”. Since the 1940s, commonly-landed fish like spurdog, cod, and ling have come to be replaced in fishermens’ nets by fish such as small spotted catsharks, and shellfish such as scallops, crabs and lobster.

The authors recommend a network of fisheries closures to help get the ecosystem back on the path to recovery.

Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, MCS senior biodiversity policy officer, says “This report adds evidence to what we have known for a number of years now – that the huge efforts of fishing boats from many nations are continuing to fish down the food chain in the English Channel – and elsewhere. We really need governments to take on board the urgent need to better protect our seas”.

Dr Solandt continues “There isn’t one square kilometre of the English Channel that is protected from all forms of fishing. Recently the government has applied pressure to stop destructive fishing in protected areas where reefs exist in the English Channel. This demonstrates that recovery is possible if areas are closed to damaging fishing gear.”

Overfishing and the Replacement of Demersal Finfish by Shellfish: An Example from the English Channel Molfese C,  Beare D,  Hall-Spencer JM  (2014)  PLoS ONE 9(7): e101506. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101506 Read the report at

A number of Channel sites are timetabled for consultation as “Marine conservation Zones” in Spring 2015. MCS will be keeping up the pressure on Government to designate these sites, and will be seeking your support nearer the time.

For more information visit the Marine Conservation Society


Merchant Vessels warned to beware hire of Armed Guards against pirates

Serious Flaws in Security as Nigerian Factions Squabble Over Primacy 


nigerian guard photo

NIGERIA – The situation with regard to piracy, hijackings and theft of all types from freight and passenger vessels and particularly those concerned with energy extraction, transiting the waters off the country’s coast is already dangerous and confused enough without an element of political infighting and the confusion which has arisen when personnel from different branches of local law enforcement have clashed over who has primacy on the open sea. Last October a skiff approaching a Romanian owned oil tanker was fired on by the Nigerian police security team aboard which believed it to be manned by a pirate group. The boat actually contained a Nigerian Naval patrol which drove the shooters into the vessel’s citadel from which they were later extracted and arrested.

This is just one of many similar incidents which have arisen as confusion over where geographical jurisdiction starts and finishes is made more difficult by ‘private’ security escort arrangements with officials made by shady middle men. Certainly the Nigerian Navy seemingly has charge of matters in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) an area extending up to 200 nautical miles seawards from the coasts of Nigeria within which the country’s authorities reserve the right to regulate by law any and all actions which they see fit.

The problem is, which authorities? The Navy also has powers extending to inshore waters when acting as part of the Niger Delta Joint Task Force whilst the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA), also seems to claim some interest in anything occurring within the EEZ.

NIMASA is run by Mr. Ziakede P. Akpobolokemi, whose current agency is allegedly linked to Government Ekpemupolo, poacher turned gamekeeper and the billionaire who was formerly a commander (and alleged military quartermaster) of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) who now, after receiving amnesty five years ago, is alleged to be the power behind Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd. which offers security surveillance in the EEZ acting for NIMASA.

NIMASA in turn is linked to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which says it collaborates closely with other government security agencies, namely the Marine Police and the Nigerian Navy, to regularly patrol and provide air surveillance for water fronts and river channels to battle the menace of piracy in and around the country’s ports. In addition, the port management department says it provides high speed patrol boats to assist the ‘security agencies’ in their patrols and surveillance.

It seems ‘arrangements’ have been made with all and sundry to protect private shipping, a job many have proved woefully inadequate at, with Nigerian Maritime Police being hired out under ‘private’ contracts only to be subsequently arrested and detained by the Navy which has been charged by new leadership to clean up the whole scene.

One of the groups most affected by the disastrous security situation in the region are the members of the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) which is currently seeking written confirmation from the Nigerian authorities of how it sees the situation. The BIMCO view is explained fully in a recent statement to its members which reads:

“BIMCO members operating vessels within the Nigerian EEZ and territorial waters should be aware that they may be at risk of potentially significant liabilities and delays if they employ armed guards on board their vessels who are sourced from the Nigerian Marine Police, the Nigerian Police or the Joint Task Force (JTF). The Nigerian Navy only provides vessel escorts and it is understood to have sole primacy and authority in territorial waters and the EEZ, BIMCO has been advised that the Nigerian Navy does not provide or permit armed guards on merchant vessels.

“The Navy has seemingly begun enforcing its alleged authority to prevent the employment of armed guards on board and this has resulted in the arrest of members of the Nigerian Marine Police and consequent delays to the vessel and unresolved liabilities placed on the owners. This appears to apply regardless of whether the armed guard policemen are sourced by an agent or a private military security company (PMSC).

“There have also been reports of incidents of ‘blue on blue’ where policemen have opened fire on Nigerian Naval vessels believing they were pirates and where seafarers have been killed or injured in the crossfire. Apparently, the Marine Police and Police only have primacy and jurisdiction in ‘riverine’ areas and ports and harbours out to the fairway buoy and no further.

“The JTF against terrorists, is a combined task force of navy and police, with a specific role to counter oil theft and smuggling in the Delta. The JTF is understood to have no jurisdiction outside this remit. The transit of supply vessels up the Bonny River to Port Harcourt is arranged by the JTF and these ships go in convoys (for a charge) whilst the offshore oil export Terminals are patrolled by private security units or the Nigerian Navy.

“It would seem that the only legitimate method of acquiring armed security protection in territorial waters and the EEZ of Nigeria is by utilising the services of the Nigerian Navy (although, this seems to exclude armed guards on board vessels).”


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