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

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

Friday, 21 February 2014

And the show went on ...thanks to Sea Champions!

The London Dive show, or London International Diving Exhibition to give it the proper title, is one of our biggest and most important supporter events of the year.

MCS Marketing Manager, Debbie Stenner, tells us how our team of Sea Champions inspired hundreds of people to make a pledge to marine conservation, despite being hampered by some typically bad, British weather...

"Amidst winds and rain, I braved the floods around Ross-on-Wye, and headed down to the London Dive Show to meet up with Sea Champions and Volunteer Coordinators Matt and Ed.

Flights and trains were being cancelled, and all but essential travel was being advised against. The irony of an underwater sports show being hampered by floods was not lost on me, but thankfully, our Sea Champions were undaunted. Big thanks especially to Sea Champion Sarah Conner, who endured a rather turbulent flight down from Scotland!

None the less, although quieter than last year, it was a good show. The diving public were genuinely keen to hear more about how we’re trying to help UK seas recover from man’s exploitation.

Big thanks go to Sea Champions, you helped us speak to hundreds of divers about our conservation work, signed up over 70 new members, and encouraged lots of people to donate their time to help protect our UK seas, shores and wildlife. 

Sea Champions were also promoting our competition to win a marine conservation dive with Monty Halls! There's still time to enter if you haven't already - closing date 28thFebruary.

Thank you to everyone who gave their time and energy and I’m looking forward to the next big event. Hopefully a drier one."

If you would like to help out at an upcoming event, get in touch with your Volunteer Coordinator and check out our guide to representing MCS at events.

MCS staff and Sea Champions at the London Dive Show (Debbie Stenner, centre)

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Could you be the next Sea Champion to inspire our youths?

As a Sea Champion, you are the voice of our seas in your communities. It's so important to inspire young people about our amazing marine life, as these are the people who will be speaking out for our seas in the future. Could you be the next Sea Champion to inspire people through a talk? Or enthuse people about our amazing marine life at events?

Alice Lockhart, age 12 from London, created a slide show as part of a school project after discovering the horrific truth behind shark fin soup. "I was shocked by how these majestic animals were treated so abominably."

Alice would relish the chance to one day become a marine biologist: "The seas are one of the great uncontrollable forces of nature, making up 70 percent of planet earth they sustain a fully balanced and complete ecosystem that depicts awe and wonder in to the hearts of millions. I find the oceans fascinating and would love to work discovering more about the most unexplored surface of the planet, the great expanse of water that we call the sea." 

Get in touch with your Volunteer Coordinator if you'd like to inspire people through giving a talk in your communities or by representing MCS at events.

See Alice's amazing school project below:

Nice work Alice!
For up to date information on sharks, visit