Growing in capacity..

As the project gathers legs, so more modular components can be identified and brought into focus by small teams all bringing thought to specific areas but handing their knowledge to the next team.

So the Ghostfishing guys benefited from reporting on the maps which was composed of a software back end layered over technical level on a graphical map.

The Ghostfishing team have made great strides in their removal operation.

Another team have come behind to expand the number of maps and grow the techniques needed to create them online.

The Heriot Watt guys have taken the data and handed the numbers on to a study that will try and makes sense of the growing data base that will underpin future efforts.

The Scapa 100 initiative has been embraced and will help shape the future roadmap. Many of the ideals central to the BigScapaCleanUp carry across both cultural and environmental concerns and have a common ground.

Safety, whilst always at the top of the list, is also being made a direct component of the BigScapaCleanUp. Less rope means less hazard: can we quantify this? A study with the local hyperbaric unit is working to quantify the issues.

But even as the project grows, the central tenet that becomes ever more evident is that the driving force comes from the community. The effort and good will from volunteers working in their holiday time has given the project a substance far beyond what we ever anticipated in the early beginnings. So this post ends with a big thank you to all those who have lent a hand and put a shoulder to the burden to help us move everything forward. Thank you loads and loads!!

New maps..

At the end of the last BigScapaCleanUp week there were a couple of themes that bubbled to the surface.

Wrecks that were cleaned the previous year were revisited and generally found to have remained clean. Certainly, it didn’t take more than a single dive for the team to sweep any debris that had accumulated since the clean up into touch. This is quite gratifying and means that the BigScapaCleanUp maps can now be used as a means to monitor the wrecks rather than their prime role which was originally intended to be a location tool. Surprising this aspect was not fully realised at the conception of the project but, with a little nimble footwork, we are embracing the new idea. However it does show the importance of maintaning the wrecks maps and keeping things up to date.

The battleships present a greater challenge due to their greater depth so that the survey and the removal phases will probably become harder to do at once. The pre-reporting and triage will become more important than ever so we have invested a lot of time into making the maps as accurate (certainly in the visual sense) as possible. The underlying mechanics of drawing the maps was simplified and made easier to edit so that can react quicker to updates. Underwater time was invested into creating dive teams with capacity to dive the wrecks and convey their experience to an graphic designer who in turn brings the jumble of steel to life through strong visual cues in the graphics.

Moving swiftly on..

Well the eager beavers have been hard at work chipping away at the coalface over the winter and created a fresh new swathe of thingsnstuff to keep the website moving forward.

Plans are well under way to take the Ghostfishing week forward and tackle the battleships in a new round of cleaning. The battleships are slightly deeper so the team will up their game and put in place the ways and means to tackle this greater challenge. Hopefully the challenges raised will test the capabilities of the BigScapaCleanUp software to the full and give the troops some meaty logistics to get thier teeth around. The GF troops have really consolidated their operation over the last year: Rich Walker has run with the Uk arm of Ghostfishing and started to embrace other projects around the coast.I think the whole team are really proud of how far they have come and the results achieved to date so a big congratulations all round!

If you want to know more, drop the guys a message on Facebook:

Cöln map

On the back of the last week collecting rubbish in the Flow, we have earmarked a programme to map the rest of the wrecks to gather data for a clear up week in 2017. The Coln is the first of the sites to get a brand new sparkly map, now live and waiting:

Coln map
The new Cöln map is now ready..

Get reporting folks..

GF2: final thoughts

The team were pleased with the week as a whole. Sadly the weather played a part but actually probably helped as it gave time and space for contemplation and conversation which is where the real engine of any successful project lies. The week was very different from 2015 with a change in focus on the wrecks themselves. The pile of debris on the pier at the end of the week was less impressive but the effort, dedication and commitment required to make that pile was as string as ever. The week had a stronger foundation as the data collected validates and quantifies the nature of the problems we face but at the same time forms the foundations of the decisions we must take to find solutions.

Next year is already in the diary and we are taking the next steps down the road to 2017.

A massive thank you to all the team and well done! Good work guys.


Day 6: round up and head home!

On the last day we focused efforts on the Koln so the team surveyed and sent up any debris found on the wrecks. By now the team are really flying and the rubbish came to the surface thick and fast.

Most of the week’s participants were chosen for slightly ulterior motives: the Ghost Fishing initiative is being extended throughout the Uk and many of the people who will lead initiatives around the UK were here this week to learn the skills and form a community with the experience to go home and start their own local projects.


Day 5.5: pause for thought

In the afternoon we sat down to talk through where we are now and where we are going. The spirit of the week has changed from last year with the emphasis on harvesting data as well as gathering up the debris. Decisions are best made when informed by the best information and this year we have focused a lot of effort into marine species ID, numbers and quantity of items gathered, an assessment of the damage potentially being caused and other factors that can be quantified.

Projects like these have an immediate output, such as the wrecks being cleaned. But there are plenty of ancillary outputs too and can include the possibility to be part of a wider program such as MSC accreditation. These additional outputs rely on data to substantiate the their own benefit but when they work, they really help to change the paradigm and keep the a seas cleaner. Hopefully the week can be far more wider reaching than just a tidy up of the wrecks.