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, and on Twitter @kayaksouth

Or you can sponsor Simon at

...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

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