Blue Seas Protection – an Isle of Wight charity whose patrons include Brian May and Joanna Lumley that works to protect the lives of dolphins and whales – tell OnTheWight they have over the last five or six weeks experienced great resistance from Isle of Wight council (IWC).
The charity fights globally and locally for the protection of our seas and the wildlife within them.
Trouble securing new berth for extra vessel
Garry Oates from the charity explained to OnTheWight they’ve recently purchased a extra boat to help with their important work, but says they’re having immense difficulty securing a berth in Ryde Harbour.
The charity’s first campaign vessel is already berthed in the harbour (which they pay IWC £5,000 each year for), but when they recently requested to berth the new boat there – in a spot that has been unused for the last four years – the Isle of Wight council rejected the request. Not once, but several times.
Oates: “A different excuse every week”
Garry, who has been involved with sealife conservation for over 30 years, told OnTheWight he’s been given a different reason for not being able to secure a berth almost every week. Some of the excuses have included:
- There’s a waiting list
- It’s full (the berth they want has been empty for four years)
- The vessel won’t fit (this has been proved incorrect)
- IWC officer said on a site visit ‘I don’t see what the problem is’, then once back at office, suddenly it’s a problem
- Too big (see 3 above)
- We have to give the berth to tourists
- The marina is “just for leisure craft” – documentation states Harbour/leisure (and the charity vessel is not commercial)
Have to tell patrons we can’t carry out work
“Now we basically have to tell our patrons Brian May and Joanna Lumley – and possibly the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Megan) who have acknowledged they may visit us when they come to the Island – that sadly we won’t be able to carry out the important work of marine conservation / marine extinction from our new boat berth in Ryde Harbour.”
Oates: A sad day for the Isle of Wight
He went on to say,
“This is sad for Ryde town, the Isle of Wight, and tourism. We feel upset and believe we’re being discredited by staff within the council who don’t know what a great of any opportunity this is for the Island.
“Most importantly, 10,000 dolphins and whales as have been killed in last three months within 100+ miles from the Island and we must be able to help stop it!”
For those raising questions about the charitable status of Blue Seas Protection, Garry told OnTheWight,
“We are a fully legally constituted charitable trust with a quorum of unconflicted trustees, allocated a registration no. 5118282 by the Charities Commission when we first applied to register.
“We are an autonomous marine conservation organisation, globally accredited by the UN and not for profit.”
Isle of Wight council confirmed they have rejected several requests by Blue Seas Protection for an extra berth in Ryde Harbour a series of questions.
In response to an IWC stating “he could see no problem” with the boat fitting in the berth, the IWC say,
“It was stated that the vessel would fit in the space however it was considered that the vessel would have a detrimental impact on visiting berths.
“It would reduce the number of available visitor berths during the peak summer season and would impinge on the movement of adjacent vessels.”
Winter offer made
The spokesperson for the IWC also added:
“Whilst a permanent berth is not currently available, should a suitable permanent berth become available then we will contact Blue Seas Protection.
“A winter berth has been offered to Blue Seas protection although this would not be available until 01.11.19 and would need to be vacated by 31 March 2020; the council is still awaiting a response to this offer.”
To find out more about the work of Blue Seas Protection visit their Website.
7.25am: Charity info added
16.01 7/5/19: Response from IWC added