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Marine Life & Conservation

Bring the ocean indoors: Educate and engage young people from the safety of your sofa

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For the first time, the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) education team will be offering live webinar sessions in addition to education tools and resources available online for groups, schools and individuals at home.

The webinar sessions will focus on recycling, plastic waste, and marine conservation more broadly. By offering engaging webinar sessions, live lessons and offline resources to download, young people can learn more about the state of our seas from the safety of their homes.

Jenny Griffiths, Education Programme Manager at MCS says: “We’re really pleased to now be able to offer a series of engaging online webinars which can keep young people entertained and educated during these uncertain times. Our ocean education resources are available for everyone to use, from teachers looking to provide support to their classes from afar, to parents and guardians hoping to keep children occupied! We at MCS have long believed that ocean literacy should be a key part of the national curriculum, with these resources we hope to show the incredible value in education the next generation about the ocean and the issues it faces.

The MCS Cool Seas Explorers website has a wealth of resources for different age groups, with educational games, quizzes, creative activities, image galleries and more, to help with home learning. Downloadable PDF resources and lesson plans which focus on different topics in more detail are also available.

Some of the amazing ocean resources available online:

–          Amazing UK seas (ages 5-11)

This topic looks at all the really important processes our cooler temperature UK seas allow for, including learning about our vital kelp forests and seagrass meadows which are habitats for many different creatures. In this section you can find some brilliant resources and lesson plans, covering rare and threatened species, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and how we can all help our ocean.

–          Marine litter (ages 5-11)

This topic explores how litter and waste finds its way onto UK beaches and what we can do to help prevent it polluting our coastline. Find games, galleries, lesson plans and documents in this section for more information on ocean plastics. A detailed Unflushables lesson plan is also available to download as part of the Cool Seas Investigators programme, which is aimed at secondary school students.

–          Marine industries (ages 7-11)

This can be used to teach older children about the different industries which utilise our seas, including fisheries, oil rigs, ports and shipping, and offshore renewable energy sources. There’s a Tetris-style game based on a shipping container’s cargo, a gallery of images of different industrial apparatus, and downloadable resources to use at home.

–          Encounter Edu

The team at Encounter Edu have a fantastic programme of live lessons scheduled which allow children to hear from experts in their field streamed live on location, a fantastic addition to your home learning schedule! The AXA Arctic Live 2020 event is also running from 4-15th May 2020, where there will be live lessons streaming from the UK’s Arctic Research Station on Svalbard. The first week of lessons will focus on life and work in the Arctic, and the second on exploring the conservation issues the environment is facing there.

All of these resources and sessions are available for groups, schools, or individuals at home to join in with, as a fun and interactive way of learning more about our ocean. If you are interested in booking one of these live sessions please email the team at education@mcsuk.org to find out more.

For more information, please join MCS’s UK Ocean Schools Resource Hub on Facebook, where members share useful marine education resources they’ve come across online.

Marine Life & Conservation

Ghost Fishing UK clean up at the Plastic Free Awards

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The ocean conservation charity Ghost Fishing UK has netted the ‘Best Plastic Campaign’ prize at the ‘Plastic free Awards 2021’ for their voluntary work cleaning up our oceans of lost fishing gear.

It is estimated that 640,000 tonnes of lost fishing gear or ‘ghost gear’ is lost into our oceans each year. Modern fishing gear is primarily made of plastics and not only continues catching and killing wildlife once it has been lost, but leaves a legacy issue of broken down plastic circulating in our oceans. These fragments known as microplastics can be ingested by animals and ultimately end up in our food chain.

The Plastic Free Awards returned for their second year to celebrate those making the biggest waves in the fight against plastic pollution. The awards are a unique opportunity to recognise the achievements of campaigners, innovators, small businesses and communities across the UK leading the charge on plastic.

Partnering with Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, the awards are designed to bring together environmental champions and leaders of the plastic free movement. With 12 award categories covering all areas from Best Plastic Campaign to Youth Activist Award, anyone can be nominated; yourself, a friend, family member, school, community, or business – anyone you think is a plastic free hero. Shortlisted nominees are chosen by a panel of expert judges.

Volunteer divers from the charity Ghost Fishing UK are carefully selected to survey and recover lost fishing gear which is reported through their website. Both divers and fishermen are invited to report fishing gear losses so the team can recover them, stopping the cycle of death and pollution in its tracks.

The materials are then stored until they reach sufficient quantities to be recycled into various items, including plant pots.

Operations Officer and trustee for the charity Fred Nunn is based in Cornwall and said: “It’s so humbling to be recognised by the community when there are so, so many others all doing truly amazing things all towards a common goal.”

Scuba divers who make the grade are put through an intensive training course over three days to prepare them for dealing with ghost nets. The job underwater can be dangerous, often with poor visibility, hard physical work and the ever present risk of the divers becoming entangled in the nets themselves.

On the day of the awards ceremony, many of the divers missed the event as they were finishing up a project in Brighton to remove a huge net form the wreck of the Cairndhu, operating from Channel Diver. They were assisted by a trawling vessel who heard the team were in the area and offered to help, using his fishing boat to haul the net on board. The fishermen are hoping to be able to repair and re-use the net depending on how badly it has been damaged whilst entangled in the wreck. If not, the net will be sent for recycling.

Trustee Christine Grosart said: “Today was a fantastic day! It was brilliant to have a trawling vessel offer assistance to our mission to get the net off the Cairndhu but to go on and win this award in the evening was the cherry on the cake.

Many people think we do this for a living but we don’t – we all have day jobs, families and normal lives to work around. It takes special individuals to give up what free time and cash they have spare to this cause and that is why they are so deserving of this award.

I was watching the awards from the middle of the Danish north sea on board a sat diving vessel and they could hear me shrieking from the Bridge!”

Chair Dr Richard Walker was also out on Channel Diver, photographing the day’s mission as it unfolded. He was travelling home when the winners were announced: “To actually win this award means more to me than you can imagine. It means that I can publicly thank all of our dedicated volunteers, who scuba dive to recover lost fishing nets from the reefs and shipwrecks around the United Kingdom and the huge contribution that our divers make in keeping the projects happening.

I can praise our instructors who teach our divers how to be safe and effective on our projects and show my appreciation to our committee who look after our administration, who send our message to the public, who make links with the fishing community and other groups.”

 Ghost Fishing UK this weekend is rolling out a new reporting system dedicated to fishermen and fishing vessels to be able to report lost fishing gear anonymously. The charity is very keen to work with the fishing community in harmony to help solve the problem of ghost fishing by getting accidentally lost gear out of the sea as soon as possible.

To report lost fishing gear, please head to the charity’s website: www.ghostfishing.co.uk/report

If you are a fisherman and know of any lost fishing gear, please report it anonymously here:

Ghost Fishing UK – Fishing Community Reporting Form

Richard Walker said “I want to thank each and every one of the Ghost Fishing UK team, and all of our supporters. They are all a key part of the job to reduce our dependence on plastics and preventing it from getting into our beautiful oceans.

And finally, a big thank you to the Surfers Against Sewage and the Plastic Free Awards for this prestigious award.”

For more information about Ghost Fishing UK visit their website by clicking here.

Header image: Richard Walker

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Marine Life & Conservation

123 Baby Sea Turtles Released in the Maldives

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Kagi Maldives Spa Island has celebrated the first turtle hatching of the season with the release of 123 sea turtles.

Guests, associates and team members from Euro-Divers Kagi Maldives gathered on the beach to witness nature’s wonderful event as the resort’s ‘Green’ team took the lead to carefully guide 123 Hawksbill hatchlings to their first journey to the ocean on Tuesday, 15 June 2021, one day before the WWF’s World Sea Turtle Day.

For more information visit the Euro-Divers website by clicking here.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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