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Marine Life & Conservation

Sign up for Blue Initiatives – free ocean conservation event this Thursday April 8



This Thursday, April 8, 2021, Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) Mexico is hosting Blue Initiatives, an online event aimed at highlighting the stories of the humans behind several NGOs, civil associations and initiatives that work towards ocean conservation around the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. This free one day event in partnership with The Blue Quest features talks from esteemed scientists and conservationists actively working on different fronts in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula.

The day will start off at 9am CST with a quick introduction by SOA before renown shark scientist Dr James Ketchum & Carmen Pasos of Pelagios Kakunja research center kick off the first talks at 9.30am CST. They’ll be followed by two of the remarkable scientists behind Whale Shark Mexico – Deni Ramirez & Karen Acevedo – at 10am. Throughout the day participants will also hear talks from marine mammal researchers Esther Jimenez and Maria Laura Marcias (11:15 am), as well as sea turtle researchers Helena Fernandez-Sanz and Agnese Mancini (11:35 am).

There is also a special talk at 10:45am CST on creating impact for conservation with underwater photography & cinematography by the creator of The Blue Quest, Clément Pourtal, and award winning photographer & founder of Dive Ninja ExpeditionsJay Clue. The talks will be in English and are free to join and open to all. Following the talks there will be a special screening of The Blue Quest documentary.

You can register for the free talks here.

 SOA is a global community of youth, entrepreneurs, and experts in diverse fields collaborating to solve the greatest challenges facing our ocean. Their mission is to support people and startups working to meet the targets of United Nations SDG 14 and define the future of ocean health. SOA’s Ocean Leadership Program empowers youth to lead the restoration of ocean health in one generation through their Ocean Solutions Hubs (OSHs), which are organized groups of ocean leaders taking action around the world to promote ocean health and sustainability. 

SOA México is one of the many OSHs from the Sustainable Ocean Alliance that works to protect Mexico’s high and deep sea while educating the community on diverse ocean-related themes. Recently, they partnered up with The Blue Quest team in order to broadcast their documentary during a virtual event aiming to highlight several ocean conservation stories from the people behind local NGOs around the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. This collaborative project goes by the name of Blue Initiatives. 

 For updates and more information follow SOA Mexico on Facebook or Instagram.


Marine Life & Conservation

Meet Parpal Dumplin – Norfolk’s very own purple sea sponge named by local child



Ten years ago, in 2011, a new sponge species was identified in the North Norfolk chalk beds by Seasearch volunteer divers. In January 2021, the Marine Conservation Society’s Agents of Change project invited children in the Norfolk area to name the purple sponge.

Following lockdown, the judges thought that this would be an ideal time for school children to bond, while using their creativity – with no constraints. From home schooling children to entire classes, the panel of expert judges received a fantastic response with suggestions including Norfolk Purplish Plum and Purple Stone Sticker. All entries were carefully considered by a panel of experts, looking at the creativity, suitability and usability of each name.

It was unanimously agreed that the sponge should be named Parpal Dumplin. The winning name was suggested by nine-year-old Sylvie from Langham Village School, “because the sponge is purple and it looks like a dumpling”. The panel particularly liked that the spelling gives the sponge a strong connection to Norfolk.

The panel of experts deciding on the name included: Catherine Leigh, Education Adviser at Norfolk Coast Partnership, Annabel Hill, Senior Education Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Jenny Lumb, Teacher at The Coastal Federation, Nick Acheson, President at Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists Society and Claire Goodwin, Research Scientist at Huntsman Marine Science Centre and internationally renowned sponge specialist. At the meeting, the panel was supported by Seasearch East Coordinator, Dawn Watson, who recognised this sponge as special over a decade ago.

Claire Goodwin, internationally renowned sponge specialist, says: “Dawn and Rob invited me to join a Seasearch survey of the east coast, including the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds. Dawn introduced me to a purple sponge she had noticed on the chalk reefs. We took samples, and believe it to be a species new to science, in a sub-genus of sponges known as Hymedesmia (Stylopus).”

We need to look at specimens deposited in museums to understand how many different Hymedesmia (Stylopus) species exist in the UK and how they differ from this new species. The Agents of Change naming project has given the sponge a common name that we can use until it has a scientific one.  I loved seeing all the creative suggestions.

Sponges help to keep seawater clean by filter feeding, consuming tiny particles of food that float by. There are over 11,000 different species globally and our purple one is ‘encrusting’, meaning it adopts the shape of whatever it covers. It lives in Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Marine Conservation Zone, a precious area of local seabed that needs to be taken care of.

Jenny Lumb, Teacher at The Coastal Federation, said: “Naming the purple sponge has been a fun way for children to find out about the fascinating life hidden beneath the waves. It’s amazing to be given the chance to name a species that scientists and divers will use for years to come! The children are so fortunate to have the MCZ on their doorstep. They had a great time on the beach discovering some of the life there, collecting litter and finding out about this special coastal area. I am sure the children will continue to enjoy and care for the coastal environment into the future.”

Catherine Leigh, Education Adviser from the Norfolk Coast Partnership said: “It was a pleasure to help decide on the sponge’s name from so many fantastic suggestions submitted and I hope it will inspire people to find out more about all the incredible inhabitants of this Marine Conservation Zone on our Norfolk coastline.”

Hilary Cox, Agents of Change Norfolk Coordinator, said: “Parpal Dumplin is a great choice by the decision panel of specialists:  a local Norfolk name for this newly found species in North Norfolk’s Marine Conservation Zone.”

Annabel Hill, Senior Education and Engagement Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “Wonderful to be involved in the process of naming a new species of sponge, found in Norfolk from a range of fantastic creative names suggested by local school children”.

You can find out more about the purple sponge, and the search for its name, by watching this animation: The seabed is a fun place to be!

For more information on the work of the Marine Conservation Society visit their website by clicking here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Save the Sharks, Save the Planet (Watch Video)



In 2020 Oyster Diving helped to train Toby Monteiro-Hourigan to become one of the youngest (12 years old) Master Scuba Divers ever. You can read his story here.

Toby has just completed this amazing ‘David Attenborough’ project video for his school on shark conservation. Please watch and share as it really is an eye opener in why we need to protect these incredible creatures.

Thanks to Toby and for letting us share this video.

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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

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