Celebrate the sea this National Marine Week

Home Blog The Great Outdoors Celebrate the sea this National Marine Week

Sea hares, brittlestars and solar powered sea slugs – they’re just some of the magical and mysterious creatures that live in our seas. This summer, you’re invited to join a celebration of the lesser-known wildlife in the waters around the British Isles. National Marine Week runs from Saturday 22nd July to Sunday 6th August, over a fortnight to factor in different tide times around the UK.

The annual seaside celebration is open to all, but this year has a particular focus on inspiring the next generation to care for our seas and shores. Did you know that more than 330 species of fish, as well as 28 cetaceans, seaweeds, seagrasses and living reefs inhabit UK seas? Plastic pollution, development at sea and damaging fishing practices mean there’s never been a better time to protect our waters and the life within them.

Rissos dolphin (c)Eleanor Stone
Rissos dolphin (c)Eleanor Stone

“…Our seas are awash with fascinating creatures, habitats, and plants,” says Lissa Batey, Head of Marine Conservation at The Wildlife Trusts, the grassroots movement behind the event. “This year’s National Marine Week reminds us of the great diversity around our shores and why it is so important we look after our seas for people, wildlife and climate.”

Sea hare (Julie Hatcher)
Sea hare (Julie Hatcher)

There are plenty of fun activities to dive into over the fortnight, to support and celebrate marine plants and animals. From shore safaris to rock pool rambles and beach cleans, there’s something for everyone. Want to find out more? A list of volunteering activities and events is available on The Wildlife Trusts’ website.

Solar-powered sea slug (c) Dan Bolt www.underwaterpics.co.uk

You can help from home too. The National Marine Week website has plenty of advice on how you can support marine plants and creatures to thrive. It recommends making small changes to reduce your plastic use and stop this material entering the marine environment. Small actions such as switching your toothbrush for a bamboo one, using bars of soap rather than pump bottles and changing clingfilm for beeswax wraps, can all make a difference. Another way you can support our seas is by conserving water. For example, filling your kettle with the volume of water you need and turning the tap off while you brush your teeth. There are lots of ways to protect marine plants and animals this National Marine Week and beyond – so get involved and make a splash!

Keep up to date with National Marine Week news by following The Wildlife Trusts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Young marine conservationists who volunteer and work with the movement are taking over its social media channels, to shine a spotlight on marine wildlife and projects protecting it.

Black_brittlestars (c) Paul Naylor
Black brittlestars (c) Paul Naylor

And in case you were wondering:

  • Brittlestars are related to starfish and have five long arms. They are brittle by name and nature, shedding parts of their arms if threatened or disturbed. They live in groups, in rock pools and as deep as 85 metres down in the sea.
  • Sea hares are marine snails that look like sea slugs but have internal shells. You can find them in rock pools and shallow waters. They eat seaweed and it’s believed that this food decides their colour. Maroon sea hares feast on red seaweed and green sea hares on green seaweed.
  • Solar powered sea slugs are quite remarkable. They carry out photosynthesis after eating algae and ingesting chloroplasts. They’re often red or bright green.
  • Risso’s dolphins live in deep offshore waters and appear whiter than other dolphins. They’re stocky with large, blunt heads.

So now you know!

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