Monday, 25 March 2013

Paint-a-Fish still going strong!

‘Paint a Fish’ is a fun activity to run during the school holidays and engage the young ones in helping save our fish stocks!

Via the "Paint a Fish" campaign, Sea Champions are giving young people the chance to have a say on the future of our fish stocks by putting pressure on EU leaders during the final stages of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, scheduled to reach a conclusion by the end of June.
The campaign has already gathered incredible support from every EU member state with over 25,000 fish paintings in its ‘virtual fish stock’. It was one of the many activities that contributed to the outcome of the historic vote at the European Parliament on the 6th February 2013, when MEPs approved a report to end overfishing, responding to civil society demands.

But the work is not yet done and from now until the end of June, ‘Paint a Fish’ will be putting pressure on EU Fisheries Ministers to ensure that they support the European Parliament’s proposed report. Download the ‘Paint a Fish’ activity guide and check out for more information and materials.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Pledge for marine protection in Scotland

The eagerly awaited plans to create a huge network of Marine Protected Areas around the coast of Scotland have now been published. In December, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee put forward 33 MPA proposals to the Scottish Parliament, including more sites for sea lochs, flameshell beds and fireworks anemones thanks to MCS.

Furthermore, four MPA search locations for dolphins, whales, basking sharks and large-scale features were identified, for which further information is being gathered. In total, the Scottish government is considering protecting 32,000 square miles of our seas, an area roughly as big as Scotland’s landmass itself!

Scottish Sea Champions have made a big push on collecting pledges of support over the winter which will be delivered to Scotland’s Environment Secretary in spring, prior to a public consultation this summer. So far, over 2,000 people have shown their support for the campaign. Can we reach 2,500? Sea Champions have been attending events far and wide to boost support.

You don’t have to live in Scotland to pledge – please pledge now!

Deadman’s finger sea slug, Loch Carron. Image: Paul Naylor.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Barmy about bins!

25 bins have now been installed on the Lee-on-Solent seafront thanks to Sea Champion Graham Smith, and it didn’t cost the council a penny. Graham contacted the council and told them about rubbish-busting firm “Zilch”, which provided the bins for free!

Sea Champion Graham Smith (second right) with Cllr Graham Burgess (far right).



Friday, 15 March 2013

200 Sea Champions!

From the Isle of Scilly to the Scottish Highlands we now have a network of 200 Sea Champions across the UK. Click here to see some of the amazing achievements from our first year of the Sea Champions programme - a seriously big well done and thank you to all!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Transforming dives in Scotland

Scottish Sea Champion Iain Morrison joined Volunteer Coordinator Matt Barnes at a talk for Deeside Divers in Aberdeen, primarily to encourage divers to get involved in Seasearch.

MCS needs volunteer sports divers all over the UK and Ireland to report what they are seeing underwater. This helps us map out the the sea bed and locate the richest sites for marine life, where there are problems and which areas need protecting.

Deeside Divers are now keen to transform their dives by taking part in Seasearch, and eight of them also signed up as MCS members.

Why not promote Seasearch at your local dive club?




“Wow, what an exciting day! This morning it was an honour to be asked to represent the Marine Conservation Society in an interview with ITV news regarding the impact of balloon and lantern releases on the marine environment. It all happened extremely quickly, but I managed to have enough time to prepare myself by brushing up on all the facts. It was a fantastic experience and I would like to say a big thank you to MCS for giving me the opportunity and introducing me to the role of Sea Champion Volunteer. "
Gemma James, Plymouth.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Big Beach Clean-up

22nd-28th April 2013

Register now!

Next month, you can join the fight against marine litter by taking part in the MCS/M&S Big Beach Clean-up. Over 110 beaches across the UK are going to sea Sea Champions and volunteers coming together to do a beach clean and litter survey which will highlight the issues of beach litter around our coastlines.

Hosted by your local M&S store team, the beach clean and survey will last a couple of hours, leaving the rest of the day free for you to enjoy the beach. If you’d like to take part, all you need to do is find your nearest beach on the map and register!

Check out our photo gallery from last year and message from Beachwatch Officer Lauren Eyles in this video

What to bring:
Suitable clothing
Seashore Safari Guide made especially for the event!

Last year over 6,000 people volunteered and collected 3,200 bin bags full of litter! The bags weighed in at over 11.5 tonnes. This included 12,800 wrappers and 2,850 tin cans.

Monday, 11 March 2013

MCS fundraisers to kayak and clean their way around UK

Four hardy souls will be raising money for MCS through an event called Around Britain 4 Britain (AB4B).

Nick Arding (OBE), best known for climbing Everest and rescuing two climbers in the process, and his colleague, Lee Pooley, will be kayaking their way around Britain between May and September. The pair will be supported by Philippa Arding and Jo Nosworthy who will be organising beach cleans in areas that haven’t been cleaned by MCS volunteers before.

Phillippa says the idea came when the four were on holiday, sea kayaking around the Isle of Wight, in May 2010: "We were chatting about other islands to paddle around, and the boys hit on the UK! The idea grew, and now its for real! We all work in jobs related to the outdoor industry, and I organise an annual beach clean in Dorset, where 20 teenagers spend two hours picking up litter and are always amazed at the difference they can make. On our trip around the Isle of Wight, we picked up a teddy floating in the sea, and saw a lot of rubbish on various beaches. The teddy was named Ready Teddy, and has become the AB4B mascot."

The team say that as AB4B became a reality, they decided they wanted to do something other than the physical challenge, and thought of the beach clean project. It seemed to link well with the expedition, their work in the outdoors with young people, and give the girls something useful to do as they support the paddlers.

"I had heard of MCS, and so we contacted the office, had a meeting with Community Fundraiser Tori Williams and began planning. We have chosen 16 beaches around the UK, that are not already cleaned, and will survey the rubbish collected. We are getting school groups, clubs, local businesses and the general public involved," said Philippa.

Tori Williams, MCS Community Fundraiser, says it's great see a two pronged challenge being taken on to raise funds for the charity: "Not only is the kayak trip really hard work, the beach cleans will also be great for the environment and provide MCS with information about beach litter form as yet uncleaned beaches. The event just goes to show how innovative our fundraisers can be."

You can sponsor the team here.
The AB4B team - Nick Harding, Lee Pooley, Jo Nosworthy and Philippa Arding.

Friday, 8 March 2013

South Queensferry Winter clean-up

Sea Champions give South Queensferry a litter-free start to 2013

Big thanks to all 25 Sea Champions and volunteers who braced the cold and helped clean-up South Queensferry in February!

It was a great team effort, removing seven bin bags full of litter from just 100m of the beach. That's a whopping 200kg of rubbish.

Beach litter has enormous impacts to marine wildlife - the recent story on the BBC website yesterday of a seal tangled in fishing line really highlights the damage that is being done.

"At least 136 species of marine vertebrate and eight invertebrate species have been recorded entangled in marine debris" says Anne Saunders, Scottish Projects Officer.

Every clean-up you help out at really does help - last year 589 Beachwatch volunteers collected 21,888 items of rubbish from 35 Scottish beaches.

Why not organise a clean-up at a bear near you? Find out how at

Sea Champions Kimberly Hahn and her daughter, and Ben Oakes at the South Queensferry winter clean-up.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Big Boost in Bristol and Birmingham for 127 MCZs

South West England Sea Champions braved the elements to collect over 500 pledges of support for 127 Marine Conservation Zones.

Ahead of our March on Parliament, Sea Champions Helen, Alice, Naomi, Harry and Natasha met at Bristol Aquarium to gather support for the campaign...

Over an ice cold weekend a few days later, Sea Champions gathered in Birmingham's Brindleyplace to promote the campaign further...
Clockwise from top left: Sea Champions Anelma Roberts, Harry Palmer, Lexie Balatsoukas, Sarah Langford, Hannah Prude, Helen Mair, Naomi Terry and Emily Smith.

A huge thank you to all the Sea Champions who together boosted the support by a massive 500 pledges. Without you, these events would not have been possible.