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Marine Life & Conservation

The Marine Conservation Society wins charity award for work with Marks & Spencer



The Marine Conservation Society has won a prestigious charity award for it’s partnership with UK High Street giant, Marks & Spencer.

The charity’s part in the ‘Forever Fish’ campaign won the ‘Corporate National Partnership of the Year with a Retailer’ award in the 2013 Charity Times Awards.

The partnership, part of the retailers eco and ethical programme Plan A, is aimed at highlighting the issues facing UK seas to M&S staff and customers, and focused on engaging people in beach cleaning activities whilst also focussing on the importance of eating more sustainable seafood.

The partnership allowed MCS to create a national volunteering programme called ‘Sea Champions’ which, in the last two years, has mobilised almost 300 people to help highlight marine issues within their local communities and added a second national beach cleaning event to the MCS calendar – The Big Beach Clean-up – which involved thousands of M&S staff and customers cleaning hundreds of beaches. 107 of the cleans were led by M&S store staff, bringing a real community feel to the event which also highlighted the huge problems litter on beaches poses to both marine life and visitors to the seaside.

Vicki Cockburn, Corporate Fundraiser for MCS, says the partnership has brought marine issues to a wide and new audience: “Collectively, it has almost doubled MCS’ volunteer network from around 10,000 to well over 19,000 people and increased our outreach capacity and ability to engage with people at a local level in the UK. We are thrilled that the partnership has been recognised by the Charity Times. It’s fantastic that an environmental initiative has won and a clear sign that issues like marine conservation is of huge interest to the public.”

MCS says the ‘Forever Fish’ partnership, largely funded by M&S introducing a 5p charge for single use carrier bags in their food halls which led to a drop in the number being used in store by 78%, has been a success because of the hard work put in by staff from both organsiations. “The enthusiasm that we have experienced from people who were completely new to our work, especially the M&S store employees, has been overwhelming,” says Vicki Cockburn.

M&S Retail Plan A Manager Rachel Jane Barton says she’s delighted that their partnership with MCS has been recognised this way. “In our first two years we’ve had 15,000 people collecting over 28,000kg of litter from 113 beaches. At the same time we’ve engaged our customers in the importance of clean beaches and what that means for the health of our marine life and the future of the UK’s fish stocks. Next year will be bigger and better and MCS will continue to play an important role in our Plan A programme.”

MCS says the M&S investment in the Sea Champion volunteer scheme will leave a lasting legacy and the charity hopes the award will show that businesses and charities can work together to improve the state of the UK’s seas and beaches.

Marine Life & Conservation

The Shark Trust Great Shark Snapshot is back



The last week of July will see the return of the Shark Trust’s citizen science initiative, The Great Shark Snapshot. It invites divers and snorkellers, all around the world, to record the sharks and rays that they see. This year it takes place between the 20th and 28th July.

The event is back for its 3rd year, and it is happening in “Shark Month”, more commonly known as July! To coincide with a series of events that celebrate all things shark and ray.

Divers, their clubs, dive centres, charter boats and liveaboards are all encouraged to show their support by organising dives and events through the week. As well as gathering vital data, the event will provide a chance to celebrate the incredible shark and ray species that live in our ocean.

Information about the species and numbers of sharks and rays the participants find over the week will be added to the Shark Trust’s Shark Log. This global shark census will, over time, allow shark scientists to build a picture of species distribution and any changes that occur

Caroline Robertson-Brown, Marketing Manager at the Shark Trust said “It is great to see this popular citizen science event back for its 3rd year. Whether you are diving your local dive site, or on a trip of a lifetime, we want divers to join in on the Great Shark Snapshot in July. I cannot wait to hear from the divers and dive organisations about the species of sharks and rays that they see. And where in the world they see them.”

It is easy to join in. Just go diving between 20th and 28th July and record every shark, ray and skate that you and your dive group sees. If possible, take photos and some video footage too. Then make sure that you record your sightings on the Shark Trust Shark Log recordings website or by using the Shark Trust app.

The Great Shark Snapshot is a way for divers to get together, go diving, and do something to help shark conservation. Why not dive in?

Find out more here:

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch



the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

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