Thursday, 4 December 2014

Plastic challenger wins PM award

Fantastic news alert! Our amazing Sea Champion Emily Smith - who helped pioneer our 'Plastic Challenge' - has only gone & become the latest person to receive the Prime Minister's volunteering 'Point of Light' award which recognises outstanding volunteers!

Emily Smith, 26, inspired hundreds of people to get involved in her ‘Plastic Challenge’ campaign after she decided last year to give up plastic for Lent. Emily is a keen sailor and became increasingly frustrated with the volume of litter she encountered in UK waters. To raise awareness about the impacts of plastic litter in particular, Emily created the ‘Plastic Challenge’ and gave up single-use plastics to highlight how dependent we have become on packaged goods. The ‘Plastic Challenge’ was so successful that earlier this year the Marine Conservation Society rolled out the campaign across the country, encouraging hundreds of people to use less plastic.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Emily’s Plastic Challenge has inspired people up and down the country to cut back on the amount of plastic they use and has raised awareness of the positive impact they can have on the oceans. I’m delighted to name her the 168th UK Point of Light.”

Emily said: “I’m very grateful to receive the Points of Light award as part of my role in the Marine Conservation Society Sea Champions programme. The Plastic Challenge has gone from strength to strength and I’m overwhelmed by the support it has received from the public. The Plastic Challenge allows people to directly make a difference by reducing their own plastic footprint, whether it’s using reusable shopping bags, giving up bottled water or living completely plastic free. There has never been a more important time to protect UK marine wildlife and I hope the Points of Light award will encourage more people to volunteer with the Marine Conservation Society.”
Well done Emily!
The Plastic Challenge will kick off again next year - watch this space.


Sea Champion Emily Smith teach Brownies about our amazing marine life.
 

Friday, 19 September 2014

No need to visit the seaside to help with our wildlife sighting programmes!


Live a long way from the coast? Or prefer to keep your feet dry? There are many ways to help us with our wildlife sightings programmes without the need to be at the beach.


We’ve received a record number of jellyfish sightings this year, with more than 1,300 by the end of August. This is an amazing number of sightings, but all of this data needs to be verified before we can upload it to our live map. Sea Champion James Price has been invaluable in helping us keep up with this rapidly growing jellyfish database. Meanwhile Sarah Briggs from Tooting has been helping us update our database on pink seafans.

It’s not all about data - Sea Champions have been giving talks to local sub aqua clubs to encourage divers to transform their dives by taking part in Seasearch surveys.

And it doesn’t stop there – Lizzie Prior created a Bioblitz survey form for key marine species found on our strandline and in our rockpools. She helped us trial the survey with hundreds of people at the Plymouth Ocean City Festival at the weekend with Sea Champions Manager Justine Millard, where they found cushion starfish, blennies, snakeslock anemone, shore crabs and lots lots more!

Get in touch with your Volunteer Coordinator, if any of this interests you. We particularly need volunteer speakers who want to encourage local communities, such as dive clubs, to get involved in our wildlife sightings programmes. If you're keen to help us spread the message, you'll receive training and support, and well as some great resources.



Sea Champion Lizzie's "rockpool ramble" at the Plymouth Ocean City Festival.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Meet our office volunteers!

Giving the gift of time at MCS HQ

Sea Champions Cassie Greenhill and Rebecca Adams alone donated around 400 hours of their time volunteering at head office through the summer! Joined by Carol Scarisbrick, Shona Palmer, Jane Meadows, Andrew Goodes, Mary-Lou Wheeler, Izzy Godden and Harriet Robins, the team provided logistical support for the Great British Beach Clean. From risk assessments, helping with promotions, to getting permissions from beach owners and sending out equipment, ahead of our biggest beach cleaning weekend yet!

Cassie and Rebecca also helped us research and contact companies to enlist their support for the Great British Beach Clean and have been an amazing help packaging up and sending out our campaign promotions to new outlets. They even went on a trip with our Pollution Policy Officer, Dr. Sue Kinsey looking for microplastics in cosmetics.

We always need help with things in the office – Mary-Lou Wheeler has been helping out with all sorts of things from putting together Seasearch packs, ensuring our Beachwatch information is up to date and accurate, plotting our priority Beachwatch beaches on Google maps and composing our first report on endangered species to help us with our 30 Threatened Species appeal. Anna Starley has been an incredible help sorting out our image database, whilst Cassie and Rebecca have also been researching events for Sea Champions to attend including Dorset Seafood Festival and Bournemouth Blue Mile.

It doesn’t stop there - several Sea Champions have also been user testing our new website and Natasha Riches gave six weeks of full time support to the fundraising team with lead generating.

If you’d like to help in our office, sign up to the Sea Champions forum for the latest volunteer opportunities.


Sea Champions Carol, Rebecca and Lizzie hard at work at MCS HQ

Monday, 8 September 2014

MCS supporter awarded title of Miss Earth Devon!

Twenty-four year old beauty queen from Torquay, Susana Barnard to compete in Miss Earth UK Grand Finals this month.

The Miss Earth pageant sees young women from all over the world compete to be titled ‘Miss Earth’ in order to become an ambassador and be able to campaign for environmental protection and conservation across the globe.

Susana will be representing Devon and will be competing against young women from all over the UK in order to be titled Miss Earth England, in Birmingham on 21st September.

In the meantime, she'll be using her new found fame to raise awareness of the state of our seas and is raising funds to help us protect them. Susana will be completing her first ever SCUBA dive, whilst collecting litter from beneath the waves.

"I am urging people to just take more care and notice of the sea. Don’t neglect it. Protect it. Keep it clean. The sea is home to millions and millions of creatures, some of which we eat. It is arguable that we could possibly be eating contaminated fish because they could be feeding from contaminated plankton and of course only because we contaminate their habitat” says Susana.

You can follow Susana’s journey by liking her Facebook page ‘Miss Earth Devon 2014’, or by sponsoring her underwater challenge.

Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.
Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Summer Blues? We certainly got them!

The Ecover Blue Mile went back to its roots this summer! From Aberystwyth to Broadhaven, Kintyre to Queenford, schools, groups, companies and individuals took part in Go Blue! 


Go Blue! was all part of the wider Ecover Blue Mile which encouraged people to do whatever they could, for as long as they could for our fabulous marine environment ...whether they were on it, over it, under it or near it – the sea was the focus for people going blue!

Sea Champion Shell Duddy, from Norfolk, took to the water in her local pool raising £105 to save our seas: "The swim went really well, I really enjoyed it. I managed to swim 74 lengths of a 25m pool." That’s over a mile in less than an hour!

Sea Champion Shell Duddy swimming a mile in less than an hour to raise funds to save our seas

Summer is not over yet! Why not try your hand at stand up paddle boarding or kayaking in the upcoming Ecover Blue Mile events in Plymouth, 13th – 14th September?

Or why not organise an Ecover Blue Mile event of you own? Check out some of these fab achievements:

Laura Truelove from Aberystwyth University Surf Club raised £70 at their
Stand-up Paddleboard event.
 
Donna Martin walked the Kintyre coastline raising £40

Chapel Haddlesey Primary School, Yorkshire took part in a one mile walk around the grounds dressed in blue and raised £30 
 
BBC Springwatch presenter Maya Plass led a dive to clear away rubbish in the sea and on the beach at Babbacombe in Torquay.
 
 
 

Friday, 22 August 2014

A windy walk in Wales for the bank holiday weekend

We've been picking the brains of the Sea Champions team as they spend lots of time out and about by our fabulous coastline. They've come up with some great walks for you to try this summer.

Here's the third of four walks, this time in Pembrokeshire.

Where: Dale round St Anne’s head and along to Marloes beach, Pembrokeshire

Walked by: MCS Sea Champions Manager, Justine Millard, partner Steve Hervey and Iolo Williams, her faithful four-legged furry-faced companion!

Parking: Large car park in Dale for £3 per day

The walk: A 7 – 8 mile circular walk from Dale going around St Anne’s head. The last mile or so up the coast makes it worth the effort as you will be rewarded by amazing views of Marloes beach.

Things to see along the way: Gorgeous views, lots of lovely little coves and beautiful, secret golden beaches, stunning views, sea, sea and more sea, and oh, did I mention the views?!

Some interesting tidbits: You start off walking east towards the coast! You then go west, north and south! Mill Bay - The actual place where Henry Tudor landed on 7th August 1485 on his way to defeat Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and to become King Henry VII. His army was simultaneously arriving at Dale Roads in a fleet of 55 ships that docked at this Historic landing point.

Places to eat: The Griffon Inn at Dale is a great place to finish and admire the sea view, whilst enjoying a refreshing drink and some lovely food alongside fellow walkers, kayakers, cyclists and happy dogs!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Scotland's Marine Litter Strategy launched!

Thanks to all our amazing Sea Champions for gathering proof that marine litter IS increasing, and for those of you who took part in last year's consultation. Scottish Government listened!


MCS Scotland Programme Manager, Calum Duncan, joined Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead at Portobello West Beach, Edinburgh yesterday for the launch of the first ever strategy setting out how to tackle the problem of marine litter around the country's coasts and waters.

We've led calls for a Marine Litter Strategy for almost a decade and hundreds of our supporters responded to last years consultation.

Data you send us after your Beachwatch surveys, feeds into strategy which reveals almost 40 new actions to minimise coastal and marine litter. We're pleased to see Scottish Government listened and the strategy includes some of our recommendation's, such as extending Port Waste Reception Facilities to include fishing vessels, expansion of the KIMO fishing for litter initiative, encouraging alternatives to plastic micro beads in personal care products and highlighting the need to tackle sources of sewage related debris.

Read the full story>>

You can help make a difference to Scotland's beaches by signing up to the Great British Beach Clean here>>






Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Sea Champion completes cycle race through rain and floods for marine conservation

Sea Champion Elspeth contended with the terrible weather Hurricane Bertha threw at us at the weekend, during her first 100 mile cycle race - the Ride London-Surrey 100.  

"I found out on the start line that they had shortened the course by 14miles to leave out Box Hill and Leith Hill due to the rain forecast. When I heard that I was a bit disappointed because I had been out training on those hills to make sure I could do them, however, by the time we got to the point where we would have cycled the hills, I was soaked to the bone and we were cycling through floods in the road, so it was a bit of a relief not to have to tackle the hills!"

"The second half of the ride was much more fun - the sun started to break through and there were plenty of people out to cheer us on which gave us all a big boost (a lot had been out in the rain all morning cowering under umbrellas - amazing of them to make such an effort to come out and support the riders). Cycling past the Houses of Parliament, up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and then turning to finish on the Mall to cheering crowds was a great experience - suddenly 86 miles didn't seem so far after all!"

Elspeth has raised £790 so far, and is still getting sponsored at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ElspethJones

Fancy riding for us in next year's Ride London-Surrey 100 race? Find out more>>



Sea Champion Elspeth completing the RideLondonSurrey100 to raise money to save our seas.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Welcome back to European Cycle Expedition duo!

Sea Champions return from epic cycle to raise funds to save our seas

Throughout June and July, Sea Champions Oli Minto and Matt Zietz who study Marine Biology and Oceanography at Plymouth University, combined their passions for the sea, cycling and adventure, by embarking on an expedition from southern Poland, up north and along the coast, all the way back to the UK, by bicycle.

Their European Cycle Expedition visited the Baltic Coastline, crossed Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France – a whopping 2,700 km!

“Throughout our journey we raised awareness of topical marine issues close to our heart such as plastic pollution and overfishing via the medium of travel and adventure, as well as raising funds for MCS,” says Ollie. “We both have an unrivalled passion for the marine environment and the diversity of life contained within it.”

The duo are still collecting sponsors on their Virgin Money Giving page>>

Inspired? Check out our resources for fundraisers for tips and ideas on organising your own challenge.



 
 

Monday, 4 August 2014

A summer walk in Scotland

We've been picking the brains of the Sea Champions team as they spend lots of time out and about by our fabulous coastline. They've come up with some great walks for you to try this summer.

Here's the second of four walks, Pittenweem to Fifeness in Fife, walked by Matt Barnes our Scotland Sea Champions Coordinator

Distance: 8 miles or 12.8 km including unmade paths and rough terrain. Can take between 4-6 hours. Proceed with caution near livestock.

Parking: Lower Largo Temple car park, Fife West Coastal Path car park

The walk: Pittenweem is Fife’s only working fishing harbour. The path borders the Anstruther Golf Course, and along the rockyshore past Billow Ness to the four old royal burghs which constitute Anstruther. This popular tourist village is noted for the Scottish Fisheries Museum and the Reaper, a herring drifter built in 1900. There are daily boat trips, during the Summer months only, to see the thousands of birds on the Isle of May nature reserve.

The route continues through the narrow streets of Cellardyke, passing its picturesque harbour north eastward towards Crail. At first, the path follows a track then narrows, passing through kissing gates and stone stiles onto open pasture. Caiplie Caves are a prominent, weathered sandstone feature situated almost halfway between Cellardyke and Crail.The route continues past an old salmon bothy and salt works before winding its way via some stone steps to Crail. 

Leading onto Fife Ness the path is challenging in places, with narrower and altogether rougher terrain. It passes the Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve. The reserve is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and sheep and cattle graze the area at certain times of year. The path crosses the reserve and onto Fife Ness, the most easterly point in Fife.

A view over Crail in Fife, on Matt's summer walk in Scotland.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Sea Champion Atlanta Cook's twenty years of beach cleaning!

Here's her story:

"My mum always had an extra plastic bag with her for "other people's rubbish" whenever we went to the park or beach. I learnt that it wasn't cool to drop litter and it didn't give someone a good job. It just made a mess of the place and ended up in the sea floating next to you, or in the stomach of some poor sea bird. So really I started beach cleaning with her back in the 70s.

"I helped set up Surfers Against Sewage's Brighton group in '91, raising awareness of the 80 Olympic sized swimming pools of raw sewage being pumped out of Brighton every day, then went on to set up a group in North Devon group 2000. Organising beach cleans came hand in hand with that, as well as plenty of partying and surfing of course.

"Much has changed over the years, and with 40% of beach litter dropped by the public, plastic bottles are a notable new menace. Drinks were in returnable glass bottles or cans in the 70s, so there was a bigger glass problem on the beaches, but at least it ground down in the sea and didn't store toxic chemicals.

"If someone had told me back then we'd have a toxic plastic soup running through the entire water column by the next millennium I would never have believed that humans could be so reckless...but here we are!

"We desperately need to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we buy. Our food chain is polluted, and we have to protect our food, right?"

Atlanta first started organising MCS beach cleans at Rottingdean in 2006, and after meeting lots of like minded beach combers, she formed the Deans Beach & Environment Volunteers in 2013 with her friend and fellow Sea Champion, Libby Darling. Volunteer numbers grew and grew, and they re-launched in May as The Deans ‘GRAB’ Volunteers -  ‘Gather Rubbish And Bag-it!’

With monthly beach cleans in Saltdean, Rottingdean and Ovingdean, public awareness has certainly been improved, but they are still struggling with a sewage related debris problem (the things people put down the loo but shouldn't) so they've been using our Beachwatch Surveys to try and highlight the problem to local councillors and MPs.

To join in The Deans ‘GRAB’ Volunteers feel good factor, check out their facebook page at www.facebook.com/thedeansvolunteers or email them at thedeansvolunteers@gmail.com

Want to get involved in beach cleaning? Then Join us for the Great British Beach Clean this September!


Sea Champion Atlanta with her team of "GRAB" beach cleaning volunteers at Rottingdean

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

March of the Mermaids a great success for second year running

Mermaids, mermen, octopuses, prawns, pirates, sailors – even a dog-fish and a yellow submarine turned out to flip, flop and dance along Brighton’s seafront in the name of marine conservation


Sea Champion Hannah Chilton’s second annual March of the Mermaids was a huge success, and was even bigger than last year.

“The atmosphere was electric with drummers and Honour Mission leading hundreds of mariney marchers along the seafront.” Says Ed Santry, dressed as a sailor.

Other than having fun, a main aim of the parade was to highlight the problems of marine litter. “Posters and banners calling on people to help make the beach a better place, to remove their litter and to embrace the beauty of the sea told the spectators why we were there and why it is so important to conserve our seas – a great way to get a very important message across, and donations to MCS came flooding in!” explained Ed.

A huge thank you and congratulations to Sea Champion Hannah who, with the help of some great volunteers, organised the whole event including pre-event fundraisers, workshops and volunteer meetings. The number of people who take part is a testament to Hannah’s enthusiasm and energy. It is a real achievement and with the event growing year on year, it looks set to be a steady fixture in the Brighton calendar!

If you didn’t make it this year, you must be there next year – it’s a brilliant day, not to be missed.

Check out some ‘fintastic’ photos of this years event, and follow Hannah’s Facebook group to keep informed for next year>>

Monday, 28 July 2014

Wibble wobble, have you spotted a jellyfish?

Then please take part in the MCS Jellyfish Survey!       


We've teamed up with Exeter University to publish a report on jellyfish distribution in UK seas. With the help of your sightings, we've tracked unusual events and trends in jellyfish movements. Thank you Sea Champions for taking part!

>>Find out which species are near you

Please keep telling us if you spot any jellyfish on your trips to the beach this summer, as more jellyfish blooms are expected as our seas warm up. It's not just jellyfish we want to know about - if you're lucky enough to spot a basking shark or turtle, please tell us!

>>Report your sightings


Thanks to all who have taken part in the MCS Jellyfish Survey! This one is a blue jellyfish. Image: A. Pearson

Friday, 25 July 2014

30 new Marine Protected Areas announced in Scotland!

A great step in the right direction

After months of face to face efforts by Sea Champions engaging with the pubic, and supported by a range of stakeholders and NGO's in the marine task force (headed up by our very own Calum Duncan, the Scottish government has agreed to 30 new Marine Protected Areas in Scotland! 

This has taken 10 years and now the fight to make sure they're properly managed begins.

This is great news for sea life, and Scotland’s hidden, underwater wonderlands after the health of Scotland’s seas has deteriorated in recent decades.

A huge well done to all those that helped gathering pledges, entering data and who took part in and promoted the consultation.


Dahlia anemone at Loch Carron. Image by Paul Naylor

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Paddling solo around the south

Simon Luck, 35 from Westward Ho! in North Devon, is doing the first circumnavigation of the south of England by kayak – a whopping 850miles!


Starting off in his kayak on August 15th from Falmouth, Simon will head out on a month long expedition around Land’s End, and then along the coast to Bristol where he will say goodbye to the ocean, for a while.

Simon’s incredible, solo expedition will then traverse the country by way of the Kennet and Avon canal to Reading, where he will join the Thames and paddle eastwards out of the Thames Estuary around onto the South Coast and back to his start point in Falmouth. He will be entirely self supported on this expedition.

Simon tells us why he has taken on this particular challenge, and why he’s chosen to raise money for MCS: “I’m raising money for the Marine Conservation Society an organisation very close to my heart, as they are really trying to turn the tide on marine pollution and pushing for an increase in Marine Conservation Zones.”

“Paddling the two large estuaries of the Severn and Thames is quite poignant in this regard, as a lot of marine pollution is actually washed to the oceans via our inland waterways. I hope to raise awareness and make a difference to an environment that has brought me joy and healing throughout my Life.”

Here at MCS, we wish Simon calm seas and warm weather for his challenge. Thank you for supporting our work!

Follow Simon’s progress at www.kayaksouth.blogspot.co.uk, and on Twitter @kayaksouth

Or you can sponsor Simon at https://www.justgiving.com/kayaksouth/

...or by texting KSAE50 + amount to 70070, eg KSAE50 £5

Inspired? Then why not sign up for a place in our very own Cornwall Kayak Challenge this September? Registration closes August 1st.

Simon's 850 mile route around Southern England, by kayak!
 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Wild swimmers face toughest conditions yet at Big Sea Swim

68 competitors combat incredibly strong currents in aid of the Marine Conservation Society.

Our third wild swim was a great success, despite the toughest conditions swimmers have yet had to face.

The event took place in Eastbourne, which boasts water quality that has been assessed as excellent by the Marine Conservation Society. A lifeguard from the Eastbourne Voluntary Lifeguards said the swimmers experienced the strongest current he’s seen in six years of volunteering there. Despite swimming against the current for half of the distance, almost all of the 68 swimmers completed the 1km and 3km distances.

Big Sea Swimmer and fundraiser, Charlotte Coombes, pushed harder than ever to reach the half way mark against the current: “I had to push harder than ever to get around the first half of the course against the current. There were times when I was convinced I wouldn’t reach the buoy at the turning point. On the flip side, it may well have been my fastest ever 500m going with the current back to the finish! After such a struggle, it was a fantastic feeling to get back on dry land and hear my number called out at the finish line.”

Big thanks go to Sea Champion Simon McPherson who has supported the Big Sea Swim from the start. He distributed leaflets and put up posters in his local area, and on the day, helped with the MCS stand, talking to people about MCS and the value of the marine environment, and supported all our great swimmers!

Tori Williams, MCS Community and Events Fundraiser, who organised the event for MCS says the day was a great success, even though there was a strong current: “All of the swimmers who took part said that they had a great time and enjoyed the challenge. I really admire their determination, as they faced the Big Sea Swim’s toughest conditions yet. On behalf of MCS I’d like to thank the swimmers, SwimTrek, the Eastbourne Voluntary Lifeguards, Turtle Mat and the Seafront Office for their support. The event has allowed us to raise awareness of the problems facing our seas and has also raised almost £2,000 so far to help MCS continue our conservation work.”

To see the full results from the day, please visit www.mcsuk.org/swim

We're looking forward to next year’s event - if you'd like to help out, or even take part in events like this, get in touch with your Volunteer Coordinator.

Combating the strongest currents yet at the Big Se Swim in Eastbourne at the weekend.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Fabulous footballs!

Well, the World Cup is almost over. There’ll be no England in the final, no Suarez looking for an on- the- pitch snack. But at MCS we’ve still got a story with balls!

Artist Mandy Barker had people around the world send her footballs balls they found washed up on beaches. She got 769 of these marine debris spheres & she created some fabulous art with them. You'll love it- even if you don’t know your centre half from your defensive midfielder.

Thank you Sea Champions for sending your beached footballs!

Read more>>


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A summer walk in Somerset

We've been picking the brains of the Sea Champions team as they spend lots of time out and about by our fabulous coastline. They've come up with some great walks for you to try this summer.

Here's the first of four walks, the Poets' Walk in Clevedon, Somerset, walked by Patick Joel our South West Sea Champions Coordinator.

Distance: 2 miles

Parking: Turn off Old Church Road to find parking at the Salthouse Car Park.

The walk: From the car park take the steps up for first views over the Marine Lake, and then up to the left to climb Wain’s Hill. Soon enough, you’ll find a stone folly with arched windows. Look through the one on the right for this view of Clevedon Pier, known as ‘the beautifullest pier in England’ by the poet Sir John Betjeman. As you make your way towards the point you’ll be following in the footsteps of Coleridge, George Gissing and WM Thackeray, and up here you can also find remains of a Napoleonic battery and an Iron Age fort!

Looking out over this view of the old town harbour and the mouth of the Land Yeo river 180 years ago, the Anglican minister John Ashley and his son wondered about how inhabitants of Flat Holm Island would ever get to church… By 1839 Ashley’s first chapel on a ship set sail to criss-cross the channel. Today the Mission to Seafarers continues, serving sailors in 240 international ports.

As you work your way back down the hill you’ll see the gate to the ancient church of St Andrew –Norman architecture, built 900 years ago. A good poem to read here would be Tennyson’s In Memoriam AHH, written for his friend who is buried here…the one with the famous lines: 'Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.’

Places to eat: As you make your way back down the hill to the car park you can look forward to tea and cake at one of the cafes facing the pier – in fact there’s even a cafĂ© at the end of the pier itself!

A view across Clevedon Pier on the Poets' Walk, Somerset. Image: Patrick Joel






Thursday, 26 June 2014

Big Blue Day success for Federica!

Last Friday (20th June) Federica Squadrilli Carr held her annual Big Blue Day with her colleagues at BlackRock in London raising a whopping £5,000 including £2,500 matching from BlackRock (and she’s still counting the coins!)

Federica’s Big Blue Day comprised of a dress down day (for a £2 donation) and a raffle with prizes including a GoPro camera, goody bags donated by Nespresso and BlackRock, bottles of whisky and champagne and a pair of Goodwood tickets. Federica also encouraged her colleagues to bake cakes to sell and had also some lovely cupcakes donated by Bea’s of Bloomsbury – the cake sale alone raised over £300.

Tori Williams and Ed Santry went along to support the event giving MCS the opportunity to raise even more awareness of our work amongst BlackRock staff. Tori Williams said “It was another fantastic event at BlackRock and we really appreciate all of the work that Federica puts in to organising it each year – arranging donations of prizes, promoting the event to colleagues and of course inspiring everyone to donate on the day too. A big thank you for your dedicated support Federica!”.

Federica said “The Big Blue Day at BlackRock is always great fun to run, and I am lucky to have the support not only of the firm but of many colleagues who bake, collect money, spread the word and of course, donate! Hopefully the funds raised can help MCS achieve their goal of protecting our beautiful seas and shores for the future”.

Federica has been supporting MCS for over five years and has helped raise well over £50,000 to support our work, through her employer and colleagues.

If you are interested in organising a Big Blue Day yourself download our “How to Guide” or contact fundraising@mcsuk.org for more information.


Federica at her annual Big Blue Day at BlackRock in London.


It's a wipeout!

Pole jousting, kangaroo boxing and tug of war... a fundraiser on the beach in Falmouth!


The "Gylly Beach Wipeout", organised by Sea Champion Hattie Frisby, saw 11 teams take to a beach in Falmouth with their inflatables and fancy dress, battling it out through a tough, beach obstacle course.
Pole jousting, kangaroo boxing, sumo wrestling and tug of war were all part of the challenge!

"Everyone seemed to have a great day, and despite the forecast, the rain managed to hold out until the prize giving at the end. There was a real competitive spirit in the air for the whole event, and scores were very close!" says Hattie.

Thanks Hattie for organising such a fun event, and for raising £40 to help save our seas!

If you fancy organising a fundraiser, check out our online resources>>
 
The Gylly Beach Wipeout! - a fundraiser organised by Sea Champion Hattie Frisby.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Big Beach clean-up success!

Over 5,000 volunteers cleared over 24 tonnes of beach litter!

Thousands of people took the beaches and waterways for the third Big Beach Clean-up event organised with our Forever Fish partners, Marks and Spencer.

Sea Champions Atlanta, Libby and Michelle ran their own Big Beach Clean-up events, and Pat, Anna, Natasha, JoJo and Jess helped out at beach cleans across south England, whilst Margaret, Lesley, Rona, David, Leigh and Thomas helped out at beach cleans across Scotland.

Big thanks to Sea Champions Pat and Anna who kindly donned the MCS starfish and cod costumes at Uphill beach, and to Daisy for running children's educational activities.

Among the stuff our amazing volunteers bagged up were:
2,904 balloons
17,318 bottles
2,114 bags of dog poo
10,187 cotton bud sticks
1,266 tampons
331 condoms
21,385 wrappers
14,226 bits of fishing line

Thank you Sea Champions!

 

Monday, 16 June 2014

There’s got to be easier ways to raise money!

MCS supporter, Alex Dew, has completed the gruelling Marathon Des Sables - an ultra marathon run over six days, covering 156 miles in the baking heat of the Sahara desert.


Alex, who raised over £900 for MCS in the process wrote about his experience which sounded dreadful! Alex – we salute you!

“I didn't wash in six days. I had to poop in bags. The water I drank was filled with electrolyte tablets, which made it taste like grape juice with added bleach. My food looked like vomit and tasted awful.”

“Running on sand was painful and exhausting. My muscles tired quickly because with every step the sands shifted, forcing my feet to be thrown in different directions. Each new angle forced my feet to slip around inside my shoes, which caused skin abrasions and blisters.”

“By the end of stage two my feet had started to fall apart. I had holes in the soles of both the left and the right, and blisters on many toes. At the clinic, iodine was poured into the open wounds, the pain of which was akin to having nails driven through my feet.” 

“As the finish line approached my feet felt as if they were bloody stumps, but the sight of the end of my pain spurred me into a fast jog. Tears streamed down my face, making little rivers in the grime, as I crossed the finish line and stopped running!”

If you fancy taking on a challenge and raising money for our seas, check out our
resources for fundraisers >>


 MCS Fundraiser Alex Dew still smiling at the end of the world's toughest race!

Friday, 13 June 2014

M&S promises microbead ban in face products

High street retailer M&S have promised to take microbeads out of all their scrub products by the end of 2015. The move comes after pressure from MCS and Beat the Microbead campaign partners. We hope other retailers take note!

Thanks to all of our Sea Champions so far who've been going through their bathroom cabinets and letting us know which products do, and don't contain microplastics.

Please continue to help us put press pressure on retailers! You can use our online form to report any products containing microplastics.

Read more and get involved>>


Your bathroom products could contain microplastics, which get washed down the drain and into the sea.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Something fishy in your chippy?

Does your local chippy deserve to be rewarded for selling seafood from sustainable sources?


Sea Champions in Exeter have been encouraging their local chip shops to take part in the "Good Catch Awards" and you can too!

If you know your local chippy sells Marine Stewardship Certified seafood, or sells fish from the Marine Conservation Society “fish to eat list”, or take other steps to make sure the seafood they sell is sustainable they could be in with a chance of winning this prestigious award!

Good Catch - The Sustainable Seafood Award 2015 recognises chippies who work hard to source their seafood from fisheries and farms that are responsibly managed. This ensures future generations can enjoy one of the UK’s best dishes. The Good Catch Award is co-sponsored and co-judged by the Marine Conservation Society and the Marine Stewardship Council and is a staple category in the National Fish & Chip Awards run by Seafish.

Entries need to be received by July 31st 2014, and the chippy owner needs to register his or her business for it.

You can take this letter to the shop owner - or you could simply tell them to register at http://www.fishandchipawards.com/why-enter-the-awards/

On Twitter? You can copy and paste these tweets:

Calling all #chippies. Enter the Good Catch-Sustainable Seafood Award, judged by @mcsuk & @MSCintheUK now! http://bit.ly/1lx6nYM

or

Does ur #chippie serve sustainable fish? Enter Good Catch Sustainable Seafood Awards judged by @mcsuk & @MSCintheUK http://bit.ly/1lx6nYM

Look out for more actions in August as we'll be looking for Sea Champions to mystery shop the finalists.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Scottish carrier bag charge approved by Scottish Government - thank you Sea Champions!

We're pleased to see overwhelming support for 5p bag charge amongst politicians in Scotland, following vote in Scottish parliament. 


You hard work has certainly paid off - Sea Champions across Scotland encouraged hundreds of people to take part in the consultation to gather support for a single-use carrier bag charge.

You helped us get the word out at 160 face to face people engagement events and talks, at countless beach cleans, and at our turtles roadshow which so far has engaged over 1,100 kids, parents and teachers on the issue. We really couldn't have done this without you!

The charge on single-use carrier bags will be introduced by law across Scotland in October this year. MSPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of going ahead with the charge in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

The 5p charge will be applied to all single use carrier bags provided by retailers to shoppers from October 20th 2014. It applies to bags of any material provided for single use, not just to plastic bags. The net proceeds from the charge will be expected to be given to good causes, according to the Scottish Government.

"It is reassuring to see just how many MSPs backed the charge, with 100 voting in favour to only 12 against," Calum Duncan, Scotland Programme Manager for MCS says. "The charge was announced over a year ago, for which MCS and partner organisations had been advocating for many years, but this overwhelming vote is a real endorsement. We look forward to recording fewer discarded bags during our Beachwatch cleans and surveys in future."

Richard Lochhead, Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment said "We want to promote the reuse of bags and other items in our society, to help get the most out of our increasingly limited resources and to cut carbon emissions. Placing a value on bags challenges our throwaway society".

A similar charge is due to be applied to plastic carrier bags in England in Autumn 2015, but MCS wants to see a commitment made for all single-use bags and all retailers, not just larger ones, to be included under this. MCS and partner organisations also want to see plastic bag use go down before this date - you can pledge to Break the Bag Habit in England.


 
 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Wibble wobble, barrel jellies hit the south west!

Bustling south west waters are teeming with spring visitors

Reports of barrel jellyfish are flooding in to our National Jellyfish Survey, as well as over 100 reports of basking sharks so far.

"Barrel jellyfish sighting have been unusually high in the area,” says MCS Biodiversity Programme Manager and jellyfish expert, Dr Peter Richardson. “We’ve also had reports of shoals of basking shark and just last week a live leatherback turtle was seen from the Scillonian ferry just off Porthcurno."

Leatherbacks migrate to UK seas in search of the jellyfish who arrive here as our waters warm up.

Dr Richardson says all the indications are that the seas around Devon, Cornwall and Dorset are the place to be to spot marine wildlife at the moment and show that UK waters hold a real attraction for many iconic species.

Sea Champion Natasha Ewins (below) has been reporting her jellyfish sightings: "Whilst on holiday with my family, we were busy writing messages in the sand when we suddenly spotted a jellyfish. It was huge! About the size of a dustbin lid. I haven't seen any that big since I was a little girl. I wasn't sure which species it was, so I pulled up the MCS Jellyfish Guide on my phone, and reported it when I got back home."

We're urging the public to report any sightings of basking sharks, jellyfish or turtles to www.mcsuk.org or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Thank you Sea Champions for your wildlife reports so far!



Sea Champion Natasha Ewins spots a barrel jellyfish!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Bags, bottles, balloons and even a duvet!


Sea Champion Karli Drinkwater tells us about her beach cleaning experience:

"One of the best things about being a Sea Champion is taking part in MCS beach clean-ups. It's an occasion where people from all over the country band together to turn the tide on trash. And, boy, does it feel good to look out at a litter-free horizon while breathing in that sea air.

Rubbish presents a huge threat to our beaches, and in turn to both our wellbeing and our marine wildlife. You don't need to read facts and figures to know how much of a problem it is: a trip to your local beach lets you see the impact of human carelessness.

It's annoying, it's sad and it's ugly. But when you group together and see the difference you can make in just a couple of hours, you know it's possible to turn things around and ensure a future for our beaches and seas.

As part of the latest MCS Big Beach Clean-up, I headed to my local beach at Cleethorpes on a blustery Sunday morning. Around 70 people, including kids excited to get stuck in, gathered to pick litter and record the items that are ending up at the coast.

We found the usual culprits - plastic bottles, plastic bags, cotton bud sticks and balloons. And we found some unusual ones, like a duvet! In just one morning, we collected nearly 500kg of trash. Add this up to all the beach cleans around the country and we're talking about thousands of tonnes of trash cleaned up. What a result.

If you think you can't make much of a difference as an individual, this is proof that you can. If we all do just a little bit, we could enjoy trips to the seaside without stepping over crisp packets and plastic bottles and our wildlife would have the chance to thrive without choking on waste.

And it's FUN – you meet some lovely folk, have a giggle and enjoy a good cuppa char afterwards.
Nothing like a brew well-earned."


Sea Champion Karli with a haul of almost 500kg of litter from Cleethorpes Big Beach Clean-up





Friday, 2 May 2014

Numbers couldn’t be clearer: people want new Scottish MPAs!

A huge thank you to all the Sea Champions that have helped petition and take part in the consultation on Scottish MPA's!

The results are in and they are overwhelming! Today, the analysis of the Scottish MPA (Marine Protected Area) consultation was published, with over 99% of respondents supporting a network of Scottish MPAs to help protect and recover Scotland’s seas.

Over 2,600 MCS supporters added you voices to the clamour of 14,703 people calling for MPAs. Thank you to all of you who responded to the consultation last year, and a huge thank you to Sea Champions for all of your hard work at events, outdoor shows and museum open days across Scotland encouraging people to take part in the consultation.

Now, we hope that the official announcement due this summer will be that the ‘best 29’ sites will be established.

So we’re not there yet, but numbers couldn’t be clearer: people want new Scottish MPAs!

Read more>>

Sea Champion Volunteer Coordinator Matt Barnes with Sea Champion Oliver Eve at the Dunbar Science Festival


Plastic, plastic EVERYWHERE!

The Plastic Challengers give us their top tips for avoiding single use plastic


After Sea Champion Emily Smith gave up plastics for Lent in 2013 and raised over £700 for MCS in doing so, she threw down the challenge to other MCS supporters to do the same in 2014, and so the Plastic Challenge was born. 

The Plastic Challenge isn’t all about living completely plastic free- in this day and age that would be pretty near impossible. So Plastic Challengers have tried to reduce their plastic usage in all sorts of ways - giving up single use plastic products for the whole of Lent, organising plastic-free meals, not using a type of regularly-used plastic like plastic bottles, plastic bags or ready meals.

Getting past the first hurdle of the weekly shop was a challenge in itself. Just about everything is covered in plastic which goes straight in the bin! But our Plastic Challengers found some ingenious ways to avoid it.

 

Agatha Ioannou: Pop down to Lush for plastic free toiletries – shampoos, conditioners, face wash, moisturiser, even deodorant and toothpaste

Charlotte Gee, from Bristol: Take containers with you for self weighed dried goods like herbs and spices, coffee, dried fruit and pasta, and for shopping at meat counters and delis. I also found unpackaged loo roll from ScoopAway and The Better Food Company!
Emily Smith, from Lambeth: I started having a doorstep delivery of milk to avoid the plastic containers.

Elspeth Owens, from London: Refill your cleaning products! I found that Ecover sell 5L litre re-fills of toilet cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, washing up liquid… and much more.

Ed Santry: Shop locally! Check out your local butchers, grocers, fishmongers and markets, you’d be surprised, there are more plastic free products than you first think!

Patrick Joel: Plastic razors were difficult to replace, but I found a supplier of razor blades for use in a long lasting metal handle.

Stephanie Barnicoat, from Truro: Make more meals from scratch! I made things like falafels, risottos, hummus and orange juice.

Sanjay Mitra, from Ross-on-Wye: I made my own yoghurt from tinned milk and a small jar of the live stuff, and I also made my own potato crisps, bread and a sugar scrub. Easy, but time consuming!


Stephanie Barnicoat, Emily Smith, Abigail Ferrar, Charlotte Gee, Sanjay Mitra, Patrick Joel, and Gill Bell raised over £730 for MCS by getting their Plastic Challenge sponsored. Thank you all!


Three of our Plastic Challengers cut out single use plastics by 65-80%. This is an amazing reduction. Let's carry on the Plastic Challenge!  Find out how to get involved at www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge and spread the word to friends and family.

Patrick's single use plastic free lunch!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Three cheers to our Brighton Marathon Runners!

The Brighton Marathon was a huge success for the MCS runners this year and we would like to thank everyone who took part and raised funds to help protect our seas!

Tony Evans completed his fourth Brighton Marathon in aid of MCS in just 3 hours 56 minutes. Tony's raised £1,015 so far this year! He says "for the first 18 or 19 miles I was on course for 3h45 but I had a really bad last 10k. I swore I'd never do it again, but now the pain has faded and I can walk up stairs again, I'm already thinking of going again next year."

Miles Nicholson finished his first ever marathon in an incredible 4 hours 14 minutes and has raised £861.20! Miles says "26.2 miles is too far to be enjoyable, but I'm thrilled that I managed to raise over £850. I have a deep love for the sea - I'm so pleased that I have made a small contribution to support MCS. It was a great honour to be a part of the MCS team."

Eddie Stubbings achieved a new personal best running his second marathon for MCS, completing the 26.2 mile course in 3 hours 49 minutes! Eddie has also raised £565.50 so far to protect our seas!

Thanks also Lizzi Hollis and Sea Champion Caroline McKay, who were due to take part but were
unable to do so due to injury and illness, for training hard and fundraising. We wish you both a speedy recovery!

The Brighton Marathon Team have raised over £3,000 to protect our seas this year!

Registration for Brighton Marathon 2015 is now open!

You can apply for one of our charity places today find out more and register online>> 

Clockwise from top left: Eddie Stubbings, Tony Evans and Miles Nicholson at the Brighton Marathon 2014.
  

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Funds raised for troubled turtles

Two kind-hearted youngsters presented a cheque for £100 to the Marine Conservation Society, after being inspired by Sea Champions at last years Dunbar Science Festival.

Sea Champion Sarah Conner (pictured below) talked to the girls last year about the plight of sea turtles, and the impact of beach litter in our oceans.

Elsie Brennan and her friend Isla Tierney, both 10, decided enough was enough and wanted to help, so they decided to raise money for these animals. Over the past year, they have been busy with various fundraising tasks, including a running a stand at their school fair and donating their pocket money. Toughest of all was a month-long sponsored sugar ban!

Elsie and Isla presented the cheque to Sea Champion Sarah at this years Dunbar Science Festival.

Would you like to inspire people like Elsie and Isla? If so, get in touch with your Volunteer Coordinator to find out about upcoming events in your area.


Sea Champion Sarah Conner (right) receiving a cheque for £100 from Elsie and Isla's amazing year of fundraising efforts at the Dunbar Science Festival.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Sea Champions to the rescue!

Scottish Sea Champions Matt and Sarah help rescue a stranded harbour porpoise. 


After completing a Seasearch survey dive in the Forth estuary on Saturday, Sea Champions Matt and Sarah weren't expecting to be back in the water so soon.

On Sunday, the duo received a call regarding a stranded harbour porpoise at Crombie Point.

Having recently completing training on how to rescue stranded marine animals, they were keen to offer their help, and were the first Marine Mammal Medics on the scene alongside the SSPCA Officer.

After a few hours in balmy 7 degree water, the Porpoise was rested and refloated before swimming away. Fingers crossed he makes it!

If you want to find out about becoming a Marine Mammal Medic please check out the British Divers Marine Life Rescue website.

 

Watch our Sea Champions in action as they help to refloat a harbour porpoise 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Sea Champions Survey: The results are in!

Your voice is important to us!

Over the chilly winter months, you've been telling us what you think of your Sea Champions experience so far, to help us spot the areas to improve.

"A big thank you to all who contributed – you’ve provided valuable feedback which will help shape the future of the Sea Champions programme. Have a look at our action plan to see what we are doing, and have done, to help you get the most out of your Sea Champions experience." Justine Millard, UK Sea Champions Manager.

Here’s what you said, and what we are doing>>

Friday, 28 March 2014

Priority Beachwatch beaches mapped!

Sea Champions can now sign up as Beachwatch Organisers on our priority beaches thanks to office Sea Champion Mary-Lou Wheeler.


Mary-Lou has done a fantastic job mapping all the beaches we have historic litter data for, but no longer have Beachwatch Organisers running surveys.

Mary has kindly donated around 35 hours of her time mapping these priority beaches, so that you can see where help is most needed.

Patrick Joel, Sea Champions Volunteer Coordinator for South West England says: "As a result of this brilliant achievement, six Sea Champions have already registered to organise Beachwatch surveys on stretches of coastline in the south west. Thank you very much Mary-Lou!"

Have you found a beach you like the look of? Then let your Volunteer Coordinator know!

View the priority beach map here>>

These are our priority beaches where we really need new Beachwatch Organisers!

 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sea Champion Alex tame's the Great Glen!

The Ecover Team Go Blue! took on the Great Glen AND the weather to paddle non-stop for over 15 hours to raise funds for MCS.


Sea Champion Alex Milden, from Lostwithiel in Cornwall, faced snow, sleet, blizzards and sub-zero temperatures for the 57-mile coast-to-coast Great Glen Paddle between Fort William and Inverness at the weekend.

The team was led by Olympic canoe slalom C2 champion Tim Baillie and round-the-world racing yachtsman Conrad Humphreys. The 5-strong team also journalist Debbie Graham from Wild Travel Magazine; and Ecover Blue Mile participant and volunteer Katia Vastiau.

Setting off in their Fatyak Mahee kayak at 2.26am, Team Go Blue’s aim was to complete the course in one day – and they succeeded, reaching the finish line 15 hours and 18 minutes later, just as dusk was falling.

Olympic champion Tim Baillie is used to white water slalom racing over short distances so for him, this was an entirely different challenge: “I’ve never started a race at 2 in the morning before so that was a new experience! It wasn’t as continually demanding of your attention as the canoe slalom so the challenge was different in that respect too."

“We got to experience every sort of weather, it really was four seasons in one day but we all worked together really well and cheerfully. And the scenery, when we could see it, was stunning.”

Conrad added: “The weather threw everything at us! The conditions were extremely challenging, but wow, what a beautiful place to paddle. The scenery was absolutely stunning and I was really proud of our team who kept smiling throughout. It was a great event to take part in.”

There are plenty more Ecover Blue Mile events coming up over the summer, or you could even organise your own to raise funds for MCS. Find out more>>


Team Go Blue! taking on the Great Glen




Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Scottish "Marine Litter Strategy" - Sea Champions have their say!

The results are in from the recent public consultation on the draft Scottish 'Marine Litter Strategy'.

The findings show how much people value the marine environment - as most respondents said they want to see significant investment, and a centralised approach to tackling marine litter.
 
Thanks to all you Scottish Sea Champions for taking part!

We'll be following up on this in the coming months to push for the best action and outcomes for our seas.
 
Read the Draft Marine Litter Strategy here>>

Monday, 17 March 2014

Could YOU go plastic free?

Sea Champion Charlotte Gee, from Bristol, gives us an account of her first week living single use plastic free:

"I've made some dramatic changes in the first week of the challenge. I’m making home-made bread, refilling detergent bottles, opting for plastic free fruit and veg, getting cheese from deli counters and self-weighing dried foods like herbs and spices, coffee, dried fruit and even pasta. I take containers with me, as well as reusable bags when I go shopping now.” 

“I’ve even managed to find unpackaged loo roll from ScoopAway and The Better Food Company!

Is it easier or harder than you thought?
"It is certainly challenging and everything I buy has to be inspected, meaning the amount of time to do a food shop is doubled. Also planning where to go and what I need to get has to be thought out in advance. Luckily in Bristol we have some amazing shops that are very conscious about their ecological footprint, so most things I can get my hands on. I suppose I am just giving up convenience for a healthier lifestyle."

Plastic-free toothpaste has been a particular challenge though, so I’m going to make it myself!”

What has inspired you to take on this challenge?
" My main inspiration is the oceans and how they are a life support system to not only marine life but also land based organisms and us, the humans. The intense overfishing, degradation and general disregard of the oceans and its inhabitancy has really hit home for me.

“If I can make people more aware about the issue of plastics in our oceans then hopefully together we can make a difference and turn the devastating effects around.”

Will you continue after Lent is over?
Carrying on after Lent will be a natural progression I feel. I have really only just begun and already I have notice how reliant we are as a society on plastic, buying products unnecessarily wrapped in one-use plastic is not something I want to carry on doing. So if I can avoid it I will.

There are lots of ways to take part in the Plastic Challenge, find out more>>

Sea Champion Charlotte Gee during her first week of the Plastic Challenge!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Blackness beach receives a thorough clean

Sea Champions Jackie Leeds, from Blackness, and Lesley Anderson, from Linlithgow cleared over 40 bags of litter as part of their Beachwatch beach clean and litter survey on Blackness Beach.

Lesley regularly sees the impacts of marine pollution, and as an avid diver, she see's the unnecessary damage being caused by litter to Scotland’s environment beneath the waves.

As a result, they've signed up as Sea Champions and organise Beachwatch beach cleans to help combat marine litter.

“The tide of litter washing up on our shores is not just unpleasant to look at, it can harm and even kill some of our best-loved marine wildlife" says Jackie.

Are you committed to tackling coastal pollution and highlighting marine issues? Then become a Beachwatch Organiser and arrange beach cleans and litter surveys on your favourite beach.

Do you have a bit more time on your hands? Then sign up as a Sea Champion today and become part of a network of ambassadors working for a clean coastline and healthy seas around the UK.

View more images from the clean-up here.





Monday, 24 February 2014

37 more Marine Conservation Zones to be considered

We are pleased to hear this afternoon’s (24th February 2014) announcement by Defra that a further 37 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are being considered for designation in 2015.

However, this is still a long way off what is needed for a full network of protection to reduce the considerable decline in marine biodiversity in English waters.

At a meeting of stakeholders in London to discuss the development of the UK’s Marine Protected Area network, Defra announced the list of sites but said the official consultation on the 2nd tranche of MCZs won’t begin until early 2015.

It’s good news that the Government has recognized the importance of providing more detail on which sites they are focusing on along with potential management measures. In the past, due to lack of information, there was some scaremongering and hype that the MCZs would prevent all activities when in most instances, low impact fishing and recreation will continue as before, though bottom towed gear will of course need managing.  

It’s good to hear which sites Government has prioritised for the 2nd tranche of MCZs, but this is still a long way off the full network.

Melissa Moore, Senior Policy Officer said “It’s good to hear which sites Government has prioritised for the 2nd tranche of MCZs, but this is still a long way off the full network. We hope this 2nd tranche, along with the promised 3rd tranche are designated as soon as possible to prevent further damage. As before, we will help gather more data on the inshore sites through our volunteer Seasearch divers this year, but Government must designate more offshore sites for broadscale habitats too.”

27 MCZs were designated in the first tranche in November 2013 - one hundred shy of the 127 originally recommended as necessary to deliver England’s contribution to an Ecologically Coherent Network in UK seas.

Melissa Moore says MCS is extremely concerned that, as a result of Government’s de-regulation agenda, a number of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) are considering voluntary management measures, rather than byelaws: “We are presently awaiting more detail on management measures for the first 27 sites, but voluntary management has consistently been proven not to work. However great the buy in, one or two fishermen, often fishers from outside the local area can ruin the efforts of the majority. Without legal redress the good work of many can be spoiled, often irrevocably, by a few. It is vital that these MCZs are not “paper parks”.

Once again, thank you Sea Champions! You alone collected over 7,000 pledges for a full network of MCZs, donated nearly 500 hours of your time inputting pledge data, wrote to your local newspapers, met with MPs, spread the word on social media and joined us on a freezing February morning to march on Westminster led by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

See the list of 37 provisional sites to be considered.

Beautiful jewel anenomes at "The Manacles" - a designated Marine Conservation Zone off the coast of Cornwall

Children ‘GO BLUE!’ with Ecover Schools Blue Mile!

Children across the nation will ‘GO BLUE!’ to celebrate the world’s oceans in the Ecover Schools Blue Mile – a nationwide event which is raising money for MCS.

Sea Champions up and down the country are encouraging their local schools to take part on Friday 6th June. 

For the day, schools will teach children about the sea, seashore and marine wildlife, supported by the Ecover Schools Blue Mile resources and ideas for cross-curriculum activities, either in the classroom or out in nature.

From painting and making sea creatures, to swimming and trying out a watersport, the activities are designed to educate young people about the importance of the oceans – and where possible, get them out into a natural environment.

This year’s Ecover Schools Blue Mile has a strong anti-pollution message. Schools are being encouraged to run a school-wide ban on plastic bags and bottles, provide plastic recycling points or be creative and decorate bags for life, our by getting out on to the beach for a beach clean-up.  

If schools can’t do it on World Oceans Day, they can they can still GO BLUE! at any time that suits.

Sue Ranger, who runs the MCS education programme says: "It’s really important that young children get to see how special our shores and seas are, as the future of our oceans is in their hands.”

For more ideas and to register for GO BLUE!, visit www.thebluemile.com


Making a splash at the Ecover Blue Mile schools event last summer! Get your local school signed up today.