Every year the Wildlife Trusts celebrate National Marine Week; a UK wide initiative to celebrate our oceans and to engage and inspire people to get more involved in their local marine environment. Here at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, we are very lucky to have such incredible and diverse marine life and an amazing team so dedicated in trying to protect it. Our seas and marine life are amazing but are unfortunately under pressure from climate change, plastic pollution, over fishing and other anthropogenic issues. Our events aim to highlight these issues to the general public and inspire them to make a difference, not only for the environment but also for themselves. It is a proven fact that ‘vitamin sea’ is great for mental health and lifting ones mood and therefore we want to get as many people involved as possible.
This year the marine team alongside the Your Shore Beach Rangers project held a number of events all over Cornwall from Saturday the 18th of July to Sunday 12th of August. Cornwall is lucky to have a network of marine conservation groups run by dedicated volunteers and support from the YSBR project. Most of our events are co-hosted with these groups to promote their local patch of coastline and get more people involved in different areas of the county. This year we were involved in a variety of different events over the two weeks, with activities ranging from snorkel safaris to rockpool rambles and eco-coasteering.
Monday 30th July- Sunset Session Boat Trip at Newquay Bay with Newquay Sea Safaris
Matt Slater the Marine Awareness Officer for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Katie Bellman from the Seaquest Southwest project, joined marine experts Chris and Annabelle Lowe on their boat the Atlantic Diver for a cruise around Newquay and the Gannel Marine Conservation zone. Their highlights included Grey seals and a variety of sea birds including Gannets and Fulmars.
Monday 30th July- Friday 3rd August Seaquest Southwest Watch for National Whale and Dolphin Week
Every year the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Seaquest Southwest project takes part in National Whale and Dolphin Watch as part of National Marine Week. Katie Bellman from the Seaquest team hosted 6 sea surveys at different watch points from around Cornwall over the course of 6 days to look for marine wildlife including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals and birds.
Surveys were conducted at:
-The Lizard NT watch point
-Towan Headland, Newquay
-St Agnes NCI station
-The Rumps, Polzeath
-Hella point, Porthgwarra
Exciting sightings included Sunfish, Grey Seals, Common Dolphins and Porpoises.
Tuesday 31th July – Paddle for plastic
Niki Clear from the marine team joined up with Lizard Adventure and Fathoms Free to kayak around the Lizard Peninsula collecting hard to reach plastics both from the sea and from the land. They explored secluded coves, recorded wildlife and collected three bags of rubbish within thirty minutes of doing a beach clean. Thanks to Fathoms Free, all of the plastics were taken to be recycled into kayaks for their Paddle for plastic project.
Wednesday 1st August – Looe Summer Snorkel at Hannafore, West Looe.
The Your Shore Beach Rangers Youth Engagement Officer Jenn Sandiford lead a fun and supervised snorkel safari of the gullies and rocky reefs of Hannafore, Looe with Looe Marine Group. Snorkelers were able to come face to face with some amazing marine life including Blue Jellyfish, Sand Eels and some Ballan Wrasse. Although the visibility wasn’t great, everybody had a great time and gained loads more confidence once being in the water.
Thursday 2nd August – Snorkel Safari with Fowey Marine Conservation Group
Nat Gibb the Community Engagement Officer for the YSBR Project joined up with Friends of The Fowey Estuary to teach young people how to snorkel for the first time. Twelve young people between the ages of 11 and 16 donned their masks, snorkels and fins and explored the rocky reef of Readymoney Cove. Each young person gained more confidence in the water and hopefully by the sounds of this young chap, they will continue snorkelling and discovering the marine environment for many years to come.
‘Thank you for teaching me how to snorkel and how to do a duck dive. That was my first time ever snorkelling and I hope to snorkel again in the future. I think the marine life trust you work for is very good. I hope to join it one day because I liked snorkelling and seeing all the fish in the world of Atlantis. In other snorkel safaris you do I am sure other kids will love doing it as well. Sad it is over for me’ – Reuben Willis, Age 10
Monday 6th August – Learn to snorkel in a rockpool at Bude.
Nat Gibb and Adele Morgan (the YSBR apprentice) travelled up to Bude as part of Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Watch kids programme to teach young children how to snorkel for the first time. The youngsters were directed towards a beautiful sheltered rockpool known as Tommy’s Pit where the children got to discover the different species of seaweeds and marine life that lived there; mostly commonly shore crabs and cushion starfish!
Tuesday 7th August – Marine Litter Masterpieces at Marazion.
Matt Slater held a beach clean event at Marazion where children and adults were able to make marine litter masterpieces with the rubbish they found along the strandline.
Matt Slater says ” The beach looked beautifully clean from a distance but by looking close up among the strandline we soon discovered huge amounts of plastic rubbish including discarded rope and string, polystyrene and nurdles.”
An event like this is a great opportunity to get people thinking about the incredible amount of single-use plastic that we all consume and to talk about what can be done about it.
Wednesday 8th August – Crazy about Crabbing at Mevagissey.
Matt Slater who runs the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide hosted an educational and fun day about crabbing in Mevagissey with Three Bays Wildlife Group. Children and adults were challenged to see who could catch the largest crab and were given the chance to watch an edible crab crush a walnut with it’s massive claws! Members of the public also got the chance to meet Cornish fishermen and learn about sustainable fisheries and the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide.
Friday 10th August – CWT Eco-Extreme Rockpooling at Port Gaverne.
Niki Clear and Adele Morgan got the chance to go Eco-coasteering with Cornish Rock Tors; jumping off cliffs, searching through rockpools, wild sea swimming and exploring caves! Even though it poured with rain everybody loved it and we even found the rarely recorded Celtic Sea slug! Cornish Rock Tors were amazing! They kept us safe despite the conditions and made sure we all had fun!
Thank you Cornish Rock Tors for having us!
Sunday 12th August – Rockpool Ramble at Porthleven.
Niki Clear teamed up with Matt Slater the Marine Awareness Officer and Shoresearch Cornwall for an exposed rockyshore survey of Porthleven. Members of the public explored the rockpools, gullies and crevices of the reef and discovered large numbers of the St Pirans hermit crab; a warm water species that disappeared in the 60’s/70’s and made a big return in 2016! Thank you to South West Water for sponsoring this event.
We are very much looking forward to National Marine Week 2019!
Massive thank you to everyone that took part and participated in the events.
We hope you enjoyed it!