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The States of Jersey hosted an international conference on sea lettuce on Thursday 05 and Friday 06 October 2017. SOS Jersey weren’t invited, but went nonetheless; our representative, environmental scientist Jacqui Carrel’s details weren’t included on the delegate list either; neither was expert Tony Legg able to present his paper* (or to have Jacqui speak on his behalf) but we are prepared to accept the explanation that the first two situations were oversights and the last because of unfortunate timings. So, how did it go?

Well done

Barges for sea lettuce - Jersey Evening Post - Jacqui carrel - SOS Jersey - 17 February 2017
Barges for sea lettuce – Jersey Evening Post – 17 February 2017 – the pros and cons of this approach was also discussed at the event

SOS Jersey have been asking for sometime for the States to get people around the table – this went beyond what we thought they would do! Well done to Minister for Dept for Infrastructure (DfI) Eddie Noel, his deputy Martin Gautier, the team from Environment and Ricardo for getting this off the ground and running the event. Thank you too to the lovely staff at The Grand Jersey who helped everything run smoothly and kept us well fed and watered!

This was probably very expensive to run, so we must hope for a good return on investment. Nonetheless, this was a good opportunity to get the ball rolling on the world-wide sea lettuce problem and let’s hope international information-sharing and collaboration, unlike the sea lettuce, continues to grow.

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*Click for:

Sea Lettuce Report – where we are at and why and what we can do about it – October 2017 – by Jacqui Carrel of SOS Jersey (easy to read and in PDF format)

Tony Legg’s paper  SEA LETTUCE BLOOM MITIGATION – A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY USING ST AUBINS BAY JERSEY – OCTOBER 2017 – TONY LEGG (PDF)

Information about Glyn Mitchell’s soil regeneration project (website)

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What happened

International Sea Lettuce conference gets underway in Jersey
International Sea Lettuce conference gets underway in Jersey

There were 11 talks (see list of speakers at end), four breakout sessions and a public meeting. The talks and breakout sessions covered a variety of topics including the sea lettuce problems here and elsewhere, the species involved and the conditions leading to excess sea lettuce growth. We also heard about projects which were attempting to use (with varying degrees of success) the sea lettuce for anything ranging from cosmetics to compost.

For SOS Jersey, we would have liked more technical detail, but that will come, and less on small uses (such as cosmetics). From Jersey’s point of view, it was as helpful to hear what had not helped as much as what had. One major problem we have here is lack of space (eg, for successful composting on a scale large enough to really help), but things found out from the projects already ongoing elsewhere will help speed Jersey’s research and action up.

Of course, Tony Legg’s ideas were not aired and discussed because he was not able to talk there, but we were pleased that Martin Gautier had many copies made for delegates to read – you can get Tony Legg’s paper here too:  SEA LETTUCE BLOOM MITIGATION – A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY USING ST AUBIN’S BAY JERSEY – OCTOBER 2017 – TONY LEGG (PDF).

There was also no talk on actually getting rid of the nitrates at source! We strongly believe the only way to do this is to have a return to regenerative farming and a stop to using NPK fertilisers (and pesticides). Nonetheless, soil ecologist Glyn Mitchell, SOS Jersey and John Baker from Jersey Action Group did manage to raise awareness of this issue, and we hope it will be included next time around.

You can find out more here:

Sea Lettuce Report – where we are at and why and what we can do about it – October 2017 – by Jacqui Carrel of SOS Jersey (easy to read and summarises Tony’s and Glynn’s information – PDF)

Information about Glyn Mitchell’s soil regeneration project (website)

What we would like to see

The impetus to be retained – let’s not let this slip away and keep all parties in contact

More parties to be involved, including more of our French neighbours

A website (suitable for anyone interested in the sunject)

An associated forum for scientists, governments, etc, to carry on sharing and collaborating

Webinars – these can be worldwide and require much less planning and money

The States of Jersey to just take action! This last year has seen a move from “It’s all the fault of the French” to an admission much of our problem is home-grown. Now let’s just get going!

The trials suggested by Tony Legg* and Glyn Mitchell to be taken seriously

*We hear because the furrowing trial “failed”, that Tony Legg’s idea will not be carried out. The ‘trial’ was a farce (see SOSJ and Mr Legg’s reports above and this post and this post), and there is no way that should be used as a basis to dismiss the true ideas and practices out of hand.

The speakers

The speakers were:

Gareth Jeffries – Jersey’s Société Jersiaise

John Aldridge – Cefas, Suffolk, England

Liam Morrison – NUI (National University of Ireland), Galway, Eire

Sophie Richier – CEVA (Center for Study and Promotion of Algae), Brittany

Robert Wilkes – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Eire

Bruce Gardener – Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana, New Zealand

Paul Stanfield – Wessex Water Services Ltd, Southern England

Sandra Unterhollenberg – Natural England, England

Andy Woolmer – GreenSeas Resources, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Stephen Hull – APBmer, Southampton, England

 

 

 

International sea lettuce conference in Jersey – our thoughts
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