Make the most of your coast! Celebrate our sea life during National Marine Week

Monday 22nd July 2013

We do love to be beside the seaside, and The Wildlife Trusts are urging coast-lovers to do more than dip a toe in the water this summer as they invite the nation to plunge into the possibilities of exploring the UK’s undersea world.

Our Marine Wildlife: National Marine Week runs for more than two weeks
from 27 July - 11 August offering endless opportunities to day-trippers and holidaymakers who want to savour our shores and discover what lies beneath the waves.

We are an island nation and the sea is a vital part of our national identity.

All around our coasts, Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers will be sharing their knowledge, so whether you want to find out more about minke whales or molluscs, velvet swimming crabs or strawberry anemones, breadcrumb sponges or butterfish, and seals or sea birds, there will be events where people can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the sea and learn more about its riches.

Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Seas, said: “We want this year’s National Marine Week to be very much a celebration of the wonderfully varied wildlife we have in our seas. We want to inspire people to find more to enjoy, more to learn and more to value in the fantastic marine life around our shores.”

A shoal of marine events will be spread over 16 days so that individual Wildlife Trusts can incorporate a low tide, ranging from rock pool rambles and seaside strolls along the strandline (the high water mark where shells, sea creatures and flotsam are left by the tide) to a beach sculpture competition Devon and a ‘snorkelling safari’ led by a qualified diver off the coast of Ulster.

Even land-locked Surrey gets in on the act with an ‘Undersea Explorers’ session for 7-11-year-olds where they can jump in a pool “transformed into an underwater environment” at a sports resort near Heathrow Airport to learn more about the amazing wildlife living in the UK’s undersea landscapes. The session is hosted, appropriately enough, by Sophie Mariner of Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Last year’s National Marine Week saw more than 80 events, all contributing to a greater understanding of the hugely varied habitats to be found under coastal waters and awareness of the wildlife they support.

Many people see the sea simply as a huge expanse of water, but under the surface lie habitats every bit as varied as those on land – kelp forests, seagrass meadows, mud plains, rocky reefs, deep-water corals and more. These richly varied habitats support thousands of plants and animals, from sea horses to basking sharks,” said Joan Edwards.

“Everyone remembers childhood trips to the seaside, peering into rockpools and picking up seashells. We want to build on that innate enthusiasm. We want to remind people that we need to protect a richly varied natural resource. As well as being a source of wonder, it is also a playground, a food supply, a conduit for our imports and exports and a climate regulator that absorbs vast quantities of greenhouse gases while releasing oxygen we can breathe. We are an island nation and the sea is a vital part of our national identity.

“But visitors to the coast want to have fun, and our National Marine Week events offer countless opportunities for people to savour the seaside and find out so much more about what our coasts have to offer. Once they know what’s out there, we have no doubt that many more people will want to see our marine habitats and wildlife properly protected.”


Tagged with: Living Seas