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!