Water Sampling of Ditches for Natural England

Posted by Jim Kerr - 26/06/2015 16:22:00

Seastar Survey have been contracted by Natural England to undertake long term monitoring of water quality within the Ouse (2514 ha) and the Nene Washes (1523 ha). The washes are artificially maintained winter water storage areas that have been designated Special Protection Areas and Ramsar wetlands for their wintering and breeding bird populations and also count ditch flora and species-rich wet grassland among their notified SSSI features.

Natural England have contracted Seastar Survey to undertake ca. 100 samples from within the two sites at periodic intervals over the next year. Total Phosphorous and Nitrogen and Dissolved Oxygen levels will be assessed to inform on possible eutrophication within the ditches.

The two sites are relatively undisturbed and beautiful areas of the country side with abundant wildlife. The initial survey was highly successful and Seastar Survey personnel thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to explore these interesting habitats.

Seastar Undertake Electric Fishing in Sweden

Posted by Jim Kerr - 13/08/2015 12:22:00

Seastar recently collaborated with Medins Biologi during a long term electric fishing campaign to assess the abundance of juvenile salmonids in Swedish Rivers. The project formed part of a long term contract to estimate the population of juvenile Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, and brown trout, Salmo trutta, (0+ and 1+) at select sites in several Swedish River systems to assess the effects of acidification on riverine fish.

The current survey data will be fed into a long term data set that has been on-going since the 1980's allowing temporal changes in population characteristics to be assessed. The yearly catch data are used to produce biological indices that help scientists to assess the ecological status of the river system as well as assess the population status of these commercially and ecologically important species.

Three consecutive sweeps of a predetermined river area were undertaken and species specific equations used to estimate the total number of fish per 100 m2 . Between each sweep fish were weighed, measured and identified and logged into pre-prepared site-specific spreadsheets.

Jim Kerr from Seastar presents at the 'Fish Passage 2015' conference in Groningen

Posted by Jim Kerr - 26/06/2015 16:22:00

Jim Kerr, an aquatic scientist at Seastar Survey, presented results from experimental research he has undertaken to assess the upstream movements of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis) over an experimental Crump weir at the 'Fish Passage 2015' conference in Groningen, Netherlands. The work focussed on the effectiveness of a unique new configuration of a bristle pass for improving the upstream passage of these species at barriers. The vertically-oriented bristle passes are attached directly to the walls of small gauging structures and facilitate the passage of both eel and lamprey over the weir by reducing flow velocity and providing a substrate for them to crawl through.

The 'Fish Passage 2015' conference was attended by over 500 delegates from around the world including leading academics, commercial enterprises and government representatives. Current best practise for upstream passage of a multiple species was discussed including empirical data collected from multiple field studies. 

Jim undertook his research at the International Centre for Ecohydraulics Research, University of Southampton, UK. He is looking forward to using the knowledge he has acquired to implement effective fish passage solutions at migration barriers throughout the UK.

Instigator of Scotland’s First No Take Zone (NTZ) Wins the Goldman Environmental Prize

Posted by Jim Kerr - 22/04/2015 16:54:00

Seastar Survey Ltd. was delighted to discover that Mr Howard Wood has received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Mr Wood was one of the founders of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) and played a key role in the campaign to set up Scotland’s first NTZ, in Lamlash Bay. The purpose of a NTZ is to provide fish and other invertebrates the opportunity for reproduction, spawning and recruitment in an area which will not be subjected to physical damage by fishing gear or other physical gear which frequently occurs in marine and estuarine areas.

Historically, Lamlash Bay was rich in marine life and prior to 1994 the Lamlash Bay fishing festival was held by the Arran Sea-Angling Association over two days each year. In 1968 the festival resulted in total fish catches weighing in excess of 7,700 kg, by the 1980’s the catch fell to less than a tenth of this and in 1994 (the final year of the festival) the catch was less than 61 kg. The annual event was once a huge economic boost to the island. The NTZ was established in Lamlash Bay to provide an opportunity for local marine life to recover from years of exploitation.

In 2008 and 2009, Seastar Survey Ltd. undertook the initial monitoring of the Lamlash Bay NTZ and surrounding area to establish a baseline for the future success of management measures in delivering benefits to both the biodiversity and the scallop fishery in the bay. An acoustic mapping survey with ground-truthing (camera deployments and sediment sampling) was undertaken to create maps of the habitats and biotopes within the bay. In recent years this baseline data has been used to establish the success of the NTZ in enriching marine life in the Bay.

Seastar Survey Ltd. Strengthen Ties with SAND Geophysics Ltd.

Posted by Jim Kerr - 21/04/2015 14:36:00

Seastar Survey Ltd. and SAND Geophysics Ltd. have collaborated to undertake many successful projects in recent years, combining expertise to offer a wide range of services to our clients. SAND Geophysics is a private limited company formed in August 2013 that provides geophysical survey support and consultancy, specialising in high-resolution geophysical data acquisition and processing. SAND is an acronym for Seabed And Near-surface Detection. SAND aim to use the latest technology and methods to provide their clients with the best possible solutions. Key services include any required marine geophysical surveys with specific expertise in unexploded ordnance detection, ultra-high resolution seismic data acquisition and processing and the development and implementation of new technologies.

Seastar and SAND plan to work together on future projects enabling us to offer an impressive range of services, expertise and experience to potential future clients. We are looking forward to many successful collaborations in the future.

Navitus Bay Geotechnical Campaign UXO Clearance Survey

Posted by Jim Kerr - 21/04/2015 10:56:00

Seastar Survey Ltd. in collaboration with SAND Geophysics Ltd. and 6 Alpha Associates have successfully completed the Navitus Bay Wind Farm geotechnical campaign Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) clearance survey. Years of military activity and sea dumping in many areas of the world has resulted in a significant amount of UXO contamination of marine environments. For example Land Service Ammunition (LSA), bombs, sea mines and artillery/mortar projectiles. UXO poses a serious threat to marine construction operations, endangering both personnel and equipment. Other renewables projects have demonstrated that the issues generated by failing to adequately manage a UXO threat early can lead to delays and a significant increase in project costs. An essential part of marine construction work involves being aware of the risks posed by UXO and undertaking appropriate measures to identify UXO before work progresses.

Seastar Survey Ltd. in collaboration with SAND Geophysics Ltd. undertook an acoustic survey of potential Cone Pressure Test (CPT) locations in Navitus bay using a side scan sonar to identify potential UXO targets and clear the site for work to progress. The work was undertaken at short notice and was completed efficiently and safely to enable our clients to meet a tight project deadline.