How Can I Help?
There are a number of ways that you can get involved and help towards protecting Devon’s marine environment – we’ve highlighted just some of them below:
Discover and Learn
Discovering and learning about Devon’s
marine environment is the first step in protecting it and there’s no better way to do so than seeing it first hand. So visit your local coast and discover the wonderful habitats and marine life that Devon has to offer, but don’t just look at the wildlife, research what you’ve just found in a rockpool, google that seabird you spotted, and look in shore guides – you’ll be amazed what you can find out.
But don’t stop there, shout about it, share your knowledge with your family and friends, celebrate our wonderful marine environment and spread the word on social media!
Not sure where to visit? Check out the Explore Devon website.
Choose Sustainable Seafood
The UK is full of seafood lovers and #FishFriday enthusiasts, but fish stocks are becoming increasingly over-exploited and the need for more thoughtful decisions as consumers is greater than ever. It’s not an easy task, but we’ve provided some great initiatives which will help you to chose sustainably and enable you to enjoy your favourite seafood without the guilt:
• The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) are independent non-profit organisations which set a standard for sustainable fishing and aquaculture. Look out for their logo’s…
• The Marine Conservation Society ‘Good Fish Guide’ The pioneers of ‘good fish guides’. The MCS have developed several tools to help businesses and consumers make the most sustainable purchases such as: an in-depth online Good Fish Guide, associated app and pocket-sized guide for making decisions on the go.
• Cornwall ‘Good Seafood Guide’ Our Cornish neighbours have similarly produced a ‘good fish guide’ which works on a smaller, localised scale. Many of the species that they provide ratings for are similar to those in Devon. Just like the MSC and ASC, the Cornwall ‘good fish guide’ uses a logo to recognise sustainably sourced/caught seafood.
• ‘Boat Stories’ – a small-scale project working with the North Devon Fisheries Association that informs the public of sustainable seafood choices in North Devon.
Be Part of the Solution to Pollution
There are many ways of reducing pollution and your impact on the marine environment and you can do them at home, work or school. We have highlighted some key initiatives and resources to help you on your way:
- Recycle Devon – an excellent resource for Devon residents to find out about Reducing, Reusing and Recycling effectively.
- Love Your Loo – A campaign from South West Water which focuses on flushing the 3 P’s (pee, paper and poo).
- Think Sink –
Another campaign from South West Water looking addressing the issue of drain blockages and ‘fatbergs’ caused by waste being poured down sinks.
- Travel Devon – an excellent resource for workplaces and their employees looking to make smarter travel choices and reduce their carbon footprint.
Aside from making changes in your home, workplace or school there are many volunteer opportunities (below) in which you can actively help tackle pollution (particularly plastics) and make a visible difference in Devon.
Volunteering, Citizen Science and Lobbying
There are lots of general marine and coastal related volunteer opportunities with organisations across Devon including:
- Devon Wildlife Trust
- Wembury Marine Centre
- Devon Biodiversity Record Centre (DBRC)
- Become a Marine Mammal Medic with British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)
- Become a Marine Mammal Surveyor through ORCA training
and so many more county-wide and local projects to get involved with!
Beach Cleans are becoming increasingly popular and they are a fantastic way to make a visible difference to the marine environment. They are also a great way to meet like-minded people or to do on your own. Below are listed some opportunities to get involved with:
- Surfers Against Sewage
- The 2 Minute Beach Clean
- Ocean Recovery Project
- National Trust
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (North/East/South Devon, Tamar Valley)
- Exe Estuary Management Partnership
and many more local, small-scale beach cleans.
Make sure you look out for them in your area or use the Surfers Against Sewage beach clean finder. Can’t find any near you? Why not setup and organise your own?
Citizen science is both fun and hugely important. You can do it on your own, with friends, or as part of an organisation or local wildlife group. Your hard work (if you can call it that) often contributes to large long-term projects which helps influence decision makers.
One form of citizen science that is vital is recording wildlife:
You should submit all your wildlife sightings via Devon Biodiversity Record Centre (DBRC)
There are also these great citizen science initiatives:
- Marine Biological Association annual Bioblitz
- Capturing our Coast (CoCoast)
- The Wildlife Trusts ‘ShoreSearch’ (intertidal surveys)
- The Marine Conservation Society ‘Seasearch’ (scuba and snorkel surveys)
- Various non-native species initiatives
It’s also just as important to record strandings (dead or alive):
For strandings of live marine animals, please call:
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) on 01825 765546 (24 hours)
RSPCA on 03001234999
For strandings of dead animals:
In Devon please contact Devon Biodiversity Records Centre on 01392 274128
For animal harassment:
Devon and Cornwall Police please phone 101, or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
please save these numbers into your phone as you neve know when you may come across a marine stranding – it could save a life
Lobbying is a great way to get your own and other voices heard, you can simply sign petitions online, create your own petitions, contact your local paper and so much more!