National Marine Week is calling on all to celebrate marine wildlife “from the comfort of your own home with a DIY rockpool ramble or a socially distanced sea-watch”.
National Marine Week will see The Wildlife Trusts host a programme of events including online webinars, virtual tours of the shore and even Zoom-based beach tot events where mini marine biologists can learn about the wonders of the sea at home.
Despite the name, National Marine Week actually lasts 15 fun-filled days to allow for the variation in tide times around the country. This year’s event runs from 25 July-9 August 2020,
Although most events for National Marine Week have had to be cancelled this year due to COVID19, some Wildlife Trusts across the UK are organising socially distanced seashore events. Highlights include a snorkel trail in Scotland, rockpool ramble pack in Ulster, a virtual dive with dolphins experience in Wales, a coastal tale trail in the North West, a bio-blitz in Cornwall, a paddle board safari in Alderney and more.
DIY rocky shore ramblers are being encouraged to record and submit their findings to The Wildlife Trusts, which will help scientists to monitor the health of shore life across the UK.
A downloadable guide, Do-It-Yourself Shore Life Spotter Guide, available from The Wildlife Trusts’ website provides information on some of the native, common and invasive species that live between the low and high tide lines along our coast.
Joan Edwards, director of marine conservation at The Wildlife Trusts, said: “From hypnotising sea-slugs and sensational stalked jellyfish, to the common beadlet anemone, the more people explore the shore, the more they discover, learn and want to protect what our wonderful seas and coasts have to offer. As a part of National Marine Week this year, not only do we want people to explore marine life near them, but we want everyone to take action and stand up for the highest levels of protection for our seas.”
The Wildlife Trusts believe Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) offer a ‘gold standard’ of marine protection and are calling on the UK Government to commit to a HPMA delivery plan within a year.
This new type of marine designation would help the seas to recover, by banning all damaging activities and only allowing low levels of other non-harmful activities in these areas. Removal of harmful pressures would allow important habitats and wildlife to flourish and recover to as natural a condition as possible.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.