The welfare of the local environment and its inhabitants is of great concern to Paddlefish Adventure. We take great care to minimise the impact that we have on the coastline and encourage our guests to do the same.
The impact that angling boats have on the sea has to be seen in context. Compared to certain industries and other recreational activities the disturbance we cause is minimal, but we should not be complacent. We should all strive to learn more about the sea, and develop skills and senses that ensure marine wildlife does not suffer from our visits. For example, the breeding season for birds and common seals coincides with the high season for angling boats, so it is important to be aware of the needs of wildlife.
A boat offers a fantastic platform from which to see seabirds and seals, and even sharks and dolphins in their natural environment. To experience the nature of the sea at such close quarters is an amazing privilege, but like all privileges it carries a responsibility. In our enthusiasm to see wild animals we can accidentally cause disturbance without realising it, so a good way to minimise our impact on wildlife is to become more knowledgeable about it.
When encountering wildlife at sea our aim is to minimise any disturbance that we might cause to wild animals and the habitats in which they live. In order to achieve this we adhere to the following basic principles:
Try not to startle or panic wild animals; never surround them, and don’t block them in from their escape routes. You will enjoy the sightings much more if they are relaxed about your presence. Sudden movements scare wildlife and give you away. Don’t linger for too long when you are close to wildlife. By all means look, but then move on. As well as avoiding disturbance to marine animals, also be aware of the need to avoid damaging plants and the habitats that the animals depend upon. Remember, you are sharing the environment – leave it undisturbed for the wildlife and those who follow.
Cliff nesting seabirds
Cliff nesting sea birds such as guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes are most vulnerable when the adults are with their eggs and young chicks. If they are suddenly scared off the ledges they may lose their young, which may fall or be taken by predators. We strive to move by as steadily as possible so as not to panic the birds.
Birds on the Open Sea
We always try to avoid panicking seabirds on the water into flight. Adult birds at sea are likely to be feeding or resting so disturbance is likely to cause them to expend extra energy, thereby reducing their feeding time, which in turn affects their survival chances. In late summer many birds moult and are at their weakest and most vulnerable.
We keep a wide berth of beaches with small pups on them, as a sudden disturbance can lead to pups being squashed, or separated from their parents. Common seal pups can go into the sea almost immediately after birth, whereas grey seal pups remain on the beach for about 3 weeks as they cannot swim. Seals will often watch boats pass by, either from a rock or in the water. We have regular seal visitors to Newquay Harbour due to food that they have found on offer here - whilst these seals may appear tame, we must re-itterate that they are still wild animals and must be treated as such.
Porpoises, Dolphins and Basking Sharks
The Cornish coast is renowned for its range of cetaceans (porpoises and dolphins) and its increasing numbers of basking sharks. All of these can, of course, be seen from a boat, but it is important that we remain aware of how we can be a danger to the animal. We will never chase after a cetacean or basking shark. If they want to see us they will come over and check us out, but if they choose to swim away then we respect their wish. Porpoises never show much interest in boats so you will just see them swim by without altering their course. Dolphins on the other hand are more inquisitive and will usually come over towards us, often playing in the bow wave or the wake of the boat.
(These guidelines are based on the Scottish Canoe Association environmental guidelines)
Good fishing practise
Whilst we do not operate a catch and release policy - guests are welcome to take their catch home to eat - we do observe legal minumum catch sizes of all fish species and release anything below the threshold along with any fish that is surplus to guests requirements for food purposes. We respect the seasons for each species to ensure continuing replenishment of stocks and vary our fishing locations so as not to fish out one area in particular.
Finally, we ensure that all rubbish is put in the bins on board and that absolutely nothing gets thrown overboard – quite the opposite, in fact, as we would encourage our guests to collect any litter that they may find in the water and bring it aboard “The Adventuress” for proper disposal.