ResponSEAble – films on sustainable oceans

Working with ResponSEAble, a major 15-partner European ocean science and citizen engagement project, tve has produced six short films on new sustainable ways to manage European seas and coastlines. Filmed  across eight European countries, the stories explore marine renewable energy and wild life; eutrophication from agricultural run-off; sustainable coastal tourism; managing invasive marine species; sustainable fish farming; and how to tackle plastic pollution through recycling and better packaging design.

See our other films from this project: Interviews with marine professionals

Rethinking Plastic

Professor Richard Thompson of Plymouth University, a marine plastic pollution expert, and David Smith of UK campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage explain how plastic waste from a variety of sources including packaging, cosmetics and disposable items ends up as micro plastic pollution in European seas – and how it harms marine creatures and potentially human health.

According to Henning Wilts of the Wuppertal Institute, moving to a ‘circular economy’ model would eliminate plastic waste, the source of the problem. The film talks to design and product strategists at Ecover, the European household cleaning product company which has recently switched to 100 per cent recycled plastic in its packaging and has committed to a transition to biodegradable plastic packaging. The film also visits smaller businesses in Germany and France to find out how ethical shops and cafes are working with consumers and the public to reduce the use of throwaway and plastic packaging.

Tackling Eutrophication

Finnish marine experts Seppo Knuuttila, and Marjukka Porvari, explain the connection between farming practice and a form of marine pollution called eutrophication. It can lead to algal blooms and causes serious harm to marine ecosystems.

Eutrophication is a particular problem in enclosed seas like the Baltic and is caused when excess fertilizer and animal manure runs off the land via watercourses into the sea. The film visits Finnish farmers Markus and Minna Eerola, to find out how their farming practice aims to reduce nutrient run-off.

Stella Höynälänmaa, Conservation officer, with WWF Finland’s Ecological footprint programme, explains the connection between intensive livestock farming and eutrophication and we find out how WWF’s Consume Less Meat campaign is encouraging Finnish consumers to reduce their meat consumption as one approach to reducing eutrophication

Marine Renewable Energy

Marine Renewable Energy has a vital role in powering Europe with clean energy and is an important ‘blue growth’ opportunity for coastal regions but there are concerns about the impact of off shore energy installations on ecosystems and wildlife. Oceanographer Jon Rees of CEFAS, explains how the UK’s offshore wind industry is growing and contributes to efforts to tackle climate change.

He explains, along with Anonghais Cook from the British Ornithological Trust how the wind industry’s developers and engineers are working with ecologists to learn lessons and minimise the environmental impact of offshore wind farms – particularly in relation to birds and marine wildlife.

We hear from Ørsted, the Danish renewable energy company, about their efforts to develop off shore wind power responsibly and taking into account the impact on the marine ecosystem.

The film visits the UK town of Grimsby, once a major fishing port to look at how the renewable energy industry is offering new opportunities to coastal communities by stimulating jobs and economic growth.

Sustainable Aquaculture

Anders Karlsson-Drangsholt, a marine with the Bellona Foundation, explains how European capture fisheries are overexploited. While we need to do much more make capture fisheries sustainable, if we want to continue to eat sea fish we will also have to rely more on fish farming. European aquaculture already provides 25% of our consumption but much of the industry is far from sustainable. Feed for farmed fish is often derived from wild caught fish, adding further pressure on capture fisheries. Another problem can be the spread of disease from densely packed fish pens. The film talks to Mike Velings of Aquaspark a Netherlands-based company which invests in sustainable aquaculture schemes and to Esther Luiten of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council which runs certification schemes for responsible aquaculture. It visits Norway to find out about two sustainable fish farming projects: the Bellona Foundation has teamed up with Norwegian seafood company Leroy to farm salmon more responsibly using seaweed to clean the water around the pens. Sogne Aquais is an onshore halibut farming enterprise which runs without the need for chemicals or antibiotics and can return clean water from the fish pens to the nearby fjiord.

Making Tourism Sustainable

We visit Rimini, one of Italy’s major coastal resorts to find how the town and surrounding areas are taking a new sustainable approach to tourism.

Environmental economist and advisor to the municipality, Anna Montini, explains how tourism is a vital part of the economy, but has caused environmental and social problems with the sheer volume of visitors.

Invasive Alien Species

International shipping is vital to global trade but marine scientists at AZTI, a European technology centre, explain how ships transport marine species around the world in their ballast water and how this leads to the introduction of Invasive Alien Species which can harm marine ecosystems and cause economic damage. The film visits the port of Bilbao in Northern Spain to talk to representatives of the shipping industry. We find out how the ship builders and owners are responding to the problem of IAS and what they are doing to comply with new international regulations for the treatment of ballast water to avoid the spread of IAS.