The Cornwall Sustainability Awards have been running since 2002 when they were launched by Sir Jonathon Porritt. Having consistently grown year on year, CSA has become Cornwall’s leading initiative for rewarding and celebrating enterprises for their contribution to environmental growth and resource efficiency.
Falmouth Harbour were extremely pleased to receive the Environmental Growth Category Award in the 2021 Cornwall Sustainability Awards
In recent years Falmouth Harbour have made a real effort to understand the impacts and pressures our activities and those of harbour users have on our local marine environment and how these impacts contribute to wider issues such as climate change and biodiversity crises. We have to manage a tricky balance between commercial vitality for the port and protecting our environment. In 2021 further steps towards reducing / eliminating these impacts were taken. These actions are described below and demonstrate further progression along the journey towards becoming a sustainable harbour that contributes to the regeneration of the marine environment and minimises impacts of a vibrant harbour wherever possible.
Habitat Restoration and No Anchor Zone
In May 2021 eleven swinging boat moorings that were having a localised impact on the Seagrass bed in Flushing were removed. Two advanced mooring systems (AMS) were then designed and installed to support buoys and signs to mark a voluntary no anchor zone covering the area where the moorings had been removed to allow the seagrass to start to regenerate without further disturbance from anchoring activity.
An extensive stakeholder engagement exercise was undertaken and, along with other local projects, this work has raised awareness of the importance of this habitat locally. Harbour users now regularly call to advise should a boat inadvertently anchor in the no anchor zone.
Working with the University of Exeter and Seasearch (Cornwall Wildlife Trust), the regeneration of the scour patches is being monitored. A baseline dive was completed on 24th August 2021 with further dives planned to measure changes.
In September the installation of a prototype Seagrass seed pod rotting device, designed by Alex Croasdell of Bournemouth University, to remove the need to rot seagrass pods down in a laboratory setting to retrieve the seeds for regeneration of seagrass beds by planting was facilitated. It is hoped this will benefit other seagrass regeneration projects in the UK and beyond.
The next step in reducing impacts on sensitive seabed habitats has been secured with the successful funding application from TEVI to design and install an advanced mooring system and trial this with a boat attached. This work is currently being planned with deployment planned for Spring next year. It is hoped this work will contribute to further understanding of how AMS perform and may encourage further use to remove / reduce the impacts of swinging moorings on sensitive sea bed habitats such as seagrass and maerl whilst still allowing harbour users to enjoy the area.
In August 2021 Falmouth Harbour launched Falmouth’s first blackwater waste reception facility . The use of this by recreational boats with sewage holding tanks will help reduce the nutrient loading issues within the inner harbour and ensure that bacteria loading in the water is as low as possible. This reduction in nutrients will hopefully help local ecosystems such as the Flushing Seagrass bed.
Connecting and Understanding
Also in August 2021, a sustainability newsletter was produced and communicated to harbour users advising on local sustainability issues and encouraging stakeholders to get in touch with ideas. See our Sustainability Newsletters here.
Our environment manager also partnered with the Falmouth Marine Conservation Group to run a snorkel over the Flushing seagrass bed in August with Falmouth harbour donating £100 towards equipment to facilitate this and enable future snorkels.
Litter Collection and Prevention
In September a Seabin was installed in the Falmouth Haven marina. The operation of this Seabin will remove some plastic waste in the local marine environment. The Seabin was publicly opened in October and information on what has been caught is communicated through the Falmouth Harbour website to raise awareness of plastic pollution locally. See our news item on the Seabin.