An new type of sea anemone have been discovered off the coast of north Devon.
Retired teacher Robert Durrant had no idea the tiny, 6mm creature was unknown to science when he spotted it in Hele Bay near Ilfracombe.
He posted a photograph to Facebook and asked experts, but nobody could identify it - so he took it home to his aquarium to feed it.
The breakthrough came when he took a backlit photo, which showed the anemone was transparent and covered in tiny tubercules. This helped French expert Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat to identify it as a different variety of Aiptasiogeton pellucidus, an anemone found in Dorset in the 70s before disappearing off the radar.
As the scientific name for the new discovery, Aiptasiogeton pellucidus var comatus, is a bit of a mouthful, Devon Wildlife Trust have asked Robert to name it.
I’d like to call it the fairy anemone, as it’s so small, delicate and elusive.
Since the discovery, further anemones of this variety have been found at Newlyn in Cornwall
It’s amazing that new animal discoveries can still be made right on our shores. The north Devon coast is particularly rich in marine habitats and species, which is why local people nominated the area from Bideford to Foreland Point as a Marine Conservation Zone.
Government missed this site off the list in the first designations of MCZs in 2013, but we have a chance to secure protection for this stunning section of coast in the new year.
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The National Farmers Union has called for a badger cull to be introduced in Devon and Cornwall to halt the spread of Bovine TB.
It comes as the government outlined its determination to press ahead with the policy after recent culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
274 of the animals were culled in Gloucestershire, falling far short of the amount needed to cut the disease in livestock. In West Somerset, 341 were shot - that's slightly above the minimum target.
In both of the pilot areas, a significant proportion were killed by the more expensive cage trapping and shooting method, rather than "controlled shooting" of free-running badgers - leading anti-cull protestors to argue that the cull was unsucessful. Dominic Dyer from the Badger Trust says that , as a free-shooting trial, the cull has failed.
Further measures to combat bovine TB have been revealed following the announcement of the results of the second year of badger culls.
An action plan for farmers sets out plans to help reduce the risk of disease spread on their farms. There will be a new service giving farmers within the badger cull areas bespoke veterinary advice on TB management.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss says the new approach will continue to include culling.
During the last parliament bovine TB rates in England soared to the highest in Europe. That is why we taking strong action in pursuing our comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, vaccinations and culling.
The Chief Vet’s advice is that results of this year’s cull in Somerset show they can be effective. That is why I am determined to continue with a comprehensive Strategy that includes culling.
There are also plans for a consultation on tougher measures for transporting cattle. An online map will show high and low risk areas. The Government has awarded £50,000 in small grants to livestock markets to help them introduce checking systems.
Independently audited results of the badger culls show cull figures for the year, and says that levels of humaneness and a high standard of public safety were maintained. In Somerset 341 badgers were removed - exceeding the minimum target.
Dave Bond has fished out of Looe for 36 years. He says EU quotas are taking their toll on the fleet.
Next year's quotas aren't quite as hard hitting as feared. But there are still reductions to sole, cod, haddock and plaice. Quotas for species like megrim and monkfish will stay the same.
Dover sole's used to be three months work for me, and now I can't even fish Dover Sole's because we catch our quota for the month in less than an hour, it's ridiculous.
No cut is a good cut in our eyes, the base figures they started with weren't good. From our point of view as a ten metre boat, we had insufficient quota when it first started so any cut is obviously just another nail in the coffin really.
Plymouth Fisheries manager Pete Bromley has warned that fishermen in the South West may still be forced out of the industry despite the Government securing what it claimed was a “fair deal” at European talks to agree new quotas.
The EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council meeting ended late last night. Whilst the outcome was not as devastating as initially feared, the long-term impact of the new deal would still have far-reaching negative effects.
The new quotas are the best result for the South West fishing industry that we could have hoped for from what is now accepted to be a bad management system, and admittedly not the disaster we first feared. But whilst they may not herald the demise of the industry entirely, they will still increase the pressure on fishermen already struggling to operate viable businesses.
Maintaining the quota of some species at the same level as last year might be seen as a ‘win’ but the operating costs of fishing vessels in the coming year doesn’t stay the same; costs like fuel and fishing nets inevitably increase. Therefore simple economics means once again, fishermen will be worse off – and in some cases, possibly forced out of the industry or face having to reduce the number of their crew to stay viable.
Quotas are still continually being set too low, often because of flawed, inaccurate or insufficient scientific data, but there comes a point where fishermen will go out of business if they are not allowed to catch enough fish to pay the bills.
A new agreement on fishing quotas and industry rules has left the West Country's fishermen concerned for their livelihoods.
The package for next year was signed off at the EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council following negotiations in Brussels. some proposed cuts to quotas were reduced. Fisheries Minister George Eustice was pleased with the result, and said it would lead to "sustainable fisheries and a strong UK fishing industry".
But the new rules will have a direct impact on fishing industries in the South West.
- There will be a 10 per cent cut to Channel plaice, which will have a big impact on Brixham, a lot of concern.
- Cuts to the white fishery - cod 26 per cent, whiting 14 per cent, haddock 12 pre cent - which will lead to more discards.
- For Newlyn’s net fishing things are looking better. They won’t have any cut in angler or megrim. And the hake quota is going up by 11 per cent.
- For the Bristol Channel, the Sole quota is being cut by 15 per cent.
- There is renewed concern about small boats. This year they ran out of quota in the Bristol Channel in October. The experts say they now expect it to be even worse in 2015.
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People in Somerset will have more power over managing flood risk thanks to a deal signed by the government today.
The new £2.7 million Somerset Rivers Authority will start work next year to reduce the risk of the kind of flooding the region suffered with last winter.
Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger praised the new initiative.
Work has started to transform Duchy of Cornwall land in Newquay into a community garden.
Newquay Community Orchard will include an allotment, cafe and a five acre Cornish apple orchard.
Those behind the project say it'll help people back to work and back to health.
Rather than sitting at home and waiting for a job I'm going out and doing something I can say to employers that I am actually volunteering in the community it makes me feel good.