Cornwall Marine BioBlitz - Get outside and record your sightings for National Marine Week

Matt Slater

Our seas are mysterious and exciting places. Have you seen a bottlenose dolphin jumping clear of the water? Have you come face to face with a grey seal? Have you snorkelled with a colour changing cuttlefish?

Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Marine Team are encouraging everyone to get outside, experience our marine environment and record those sightings in celebration of National Marine Week (29th July – 9th August). We want to hear all about your marine experiences whether it’s rocky shore, sea watches, sea birds or under water safaris and need you to use the fantastic ORKS app to record and share your sightings. We’re on a mission to record as much marine wildlife as possible! Are you up for the challenge?

Download ORKS

We hope to collect as many sightings and species records as possible through the ORKS app (ORKS stands for Online Recording Kernow and Scilly) over the two-week period celebrating National Marine Week. Throughout the two weeks we will be providing practical tips and sharing the experiences of our Marine Team via social media to keep you inspired and looking out for wildlife!

Jenn Sandiford, Youth Engagement Officer for the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project, comments on our goals:

‘With Covid-19 still affecting our events, we wanted to find other ways to ensure people can continue to engage with our awesome marine environment. This National Marine Week, we’ll be bringing nature to you as well as encouraging everyone to get outside safely and get involved by sending in those sightings to ORKS. We want it to be a huge collective event, spanning two weeks, across Cornwall, finding out what beautiful marine life people are spotting.’

This year we are encouraging you to take part in your own snorkelling and rock pooling trips and to record all your findings.

The two main focuses of National Marine Week 2020 are Shorelife and Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). To help you engage with Shorelife we will be looking at how you can get involved through videos of rock pooling, snorkelling and shore diving and encouraging you to do these activities yourselves! Seaquest will also be broadcasting their Seawatches on ‘Facebook Live’ for National Whale and Dolphin Watch so keep an eye out for that!

Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) are the second focus of our National Marine Week celebration. HPMAs offer a ‘gold standard’ of marine protection and the Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to commit to an ambitious HPMA delivery plan within a year. This new type of marine designation would help our seas to recover, by banning all damaging activities and only allowing low levels of other non-harmful activities in these areas. Removal of harmful pressures would allow important habitats and wildlife to flourish and recover to as natural a condition as possible. 

Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, expands on their importance:

‘We are calling on the public to get behind our campaign for a series of Highly Protected Marine Areas. You can do this by collecting marine wildlife records during National Marine Week and signing the petition. We know from case studies from around the UK and the world that they work, and will allow wildlife to recover, helping not only the environment but the fishing industry too who benefit from longer term improved sustainability and spill-over effect from these Highly Protected Marine Areas.’

Look out on our social media for videos, instructions and safety guidelines so that you can conduct your own rock pooling and snorkeling trips safely. Also, make sure you download the ORKS app to record what you see and help us learn more about our marine environment and why it needs protecting. Learn why the HPMA campaign is so important to protect our marine environment and you can put your name down in support of them.

Get involved on social media using the hashtag #NationalMarineWeek! We need as many people as possible to get involved to gather as much data as we can to learn more about our Cornish marine environment and how to protect it.

Bottlenose Dolphin - Harry Hogg

Bottlenose Dolphin - Harry Hogg