Meg Hayward-Smith, a Marine Science student from Falmouth Marine School has just launched a new Marine Conservation Group in Falmouth. She will be hosting her first meeting, which is open to the public, on Wednesday 2nd November at Falmouth Watersports Centre.
Meg said: “Falmouth is a beautiful area and has rich marine biodiversity which people come from far and wide to visit. With an increasing amount people visiting and living in the area it’s a great opportunity to promote marine conservation. The aim of Falmouth Marine Conservation group is to raise marine awareness, decrease the amount of litter going into the water and collect scientific data to have a better understanding of what species and habitats there are and how we can support them.”
The group will do numerous surveys on the area to gather a full picture of the animals and plants that calls Falmouth home. It also plans to educate people about the marine environment by having training sessions, talks and group events.
Meg continues: “I started the group due to my passion for the oceans and what it holds and how conservation can support and protect these places. However, conservation starts at home. Working in the local area, with a small, committed group of people will enable us to produce some good science, with relatable results. Oceans are crucial to our existence from the air we breathe to the food on our plate.
“However, due to the human impacts of pollution and unsustainable fishing methods it has caused detrimental effects. Therefore, it is vital, now more than ever, to get everyone involved in helping protect our ocean for future generations. I hope with the awareness raised, data gathered, and litter removed from our beaches, that the Falmouth Marine Conservation group can contribute to the global marine crisis by taking action on a local scale.”
Meg has received a great deal of support from the local community, conservation groups and organisations. The Marine Biology Association have contributed lots of ID guides and other literature, as well as providing a training bursary for rocky shore species identification. She has also received interest from the Marine Conservation Society, offering to help on future projects. More locally The Helford Marine Conservation Group are interested in collaborating, and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust have provided excellent support by funding the first meeting at The Falmouth Watersports Center, which includes a pasty supper.
Nat Gibb, Community Engagement Officer for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Your Shore Beach Rangers Project said ‘Falmouth gives home to an amazing abundance of marine life as well as an existing community that is already so active in the sea and on their local beaches. Our new Your Shore Beach Rangers project is all about engaging and inspiring communities in Cornwall to set up their own ‘Local Marine Conservation Groups’ which will help to monitor, protect and educate about their amazing local marine environment. We can’t wait to get stuck in and help support the fantastic people that are behind the new ‘Falmouth Marine Conservation Group’.
If you want to get involved then meet Meg and the team at Falmouth Watersports Centre on Wednsday 2nd November at 7pm and/or join their facebook page to find out how you can get involved: https://www.facebook.com/Falmarineconservation or https://www.facebook.com/groups/240509683013786