Cornwall is home to some of the richest marine wildlife from tiny rare colourful corals to giant basking sharks, but our seas urgently need protecting. Cornwall Wildlife Trust runs an extensive marine conservation programme known as ‘Living Seas’.
We work to protect Cornwall's seas in three ways:
- we collect data on marine wildlife
- we create awareness of the threats to marine life
- we campaign for better protection for our marine species and habitats.
Living Seas Programme projects
Cornwall Good Seafood Guide is a new Cornwall Wildlife Trust project that provides consumers and businesses with all the information they need to make well informed choices when choosing Cornish seafood. Visit our new website to find out more.
The Trust gathers data on the marine seabed and species through Seasearch diving surveys. The Trust collects sightings of larger marine animals that visit our waters, such as dolphins, turtle and whales through the Seaquest Southwest project and through our Marine Wildlife Guide, Paul Semmens, who carries out weekly surveys from the Scillonian.
In July 2012, the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (ERCCIS) launched a new ground breaking project to map the habitats along north Cornwall’s coastline called Intertidal Discovery, stretching from Marsland mouth, near Bude, to Land’s End. This is the first time this has ever been done in Cornwall.
As Cornwall is a renowned hot-spot for porpoise, dolphins, whale, basking sharks and many other marine species, our ongoing Seaquest Sundays are helping us to monitor and protect these wonderful animals for the future and our Coastal Code work enables us to educate water users on the best practise around them.
Cornwall sadly receives the highest numbers of dead dolphin strandings each year. In response to this we established the Marine Strandings Network to record these animals and retrieve them for post mortem examination.
The Trust's innovative Pinger Trial is continuing to gather data on the effectiveness and practicalities of acoustic deterents to deter cetaceans away from fishing nets.
Following the phenomenal success of the Your Shore project, Cornwall’s five Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas (VMCAs) now have independant marine conservation groups of active teams of volunteers working to promote the marine environment,to engage with the public and to carry out surveys and monitoring. The network of local marine conservation volunteer groups is continuing to expand and we aim to support and continue to grown this vital local network.
The Cornwall Wildlife Trusts Living Seas team took part in and Interreg (EU) funded project called PANACHE (Protected Area Network Across the Channel Ecosystem) between 2013 and 2015. PANACHE aims to better the protection and management of the marine environment through the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the English Channel Area.
A major issue facing the protection of our marine environment is the threat of non native and invasive species. The Investigate Invasive campaign and Marine Science Project aims to identify non-native invasive species that threaten the habitats and native wildlife of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
We use our data to create awareness about the threats to marine wildlife and to campaign for better protection. Our seas lack the legislation they need to adequately protect them. The data collected through all of these projects has been shared with the Finding Sanctuary project which was responsible for developing a network of Marine Protected Areas in the south west.
We will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure the Marine Act provides the necessary protection, especially through Marine Conservation Zones to give our marine wildlife the chance to recover and thrive.
The Living Seas Programme is financially supported by Frugi, a local children's organic clothing company, through the 1% for the Planet scheme.