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National Marine Week

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:33 UK time, Monday, 1 August 2011

This week it's National Marine Week (30 July - 14 August) and The Wildlife Trusts will be celebrating everything that's great about our oceans - from basking sharks to puffins and everything in between.

This year a 'Petition Fish' campaign is being launched in order to demonstrate public support for our Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Our seas are under increasing stress from human impacts such as fishing, pollution and climate change and experience from around the world shows that MPAs can help fragile marine ecosystems and wildlife recover and replenish fish stocks in the process.

Much of our marine wildlife is in decline - two species of whale and dolphin have become extinct in UK waters over the last 400 years and basking shark numbers have declined by 95%.

Commercial species are also under pressure; in 2009, the EU Commission declared that 88% of marine fish stocks were overexploited.

Wildlife Trusts Wales are now calling for more effective management of existing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as our current sites are failing to meet their objectives (over 36% of territorial waters in Wales are currently designated MPAs).

In addition, the Welsh Government is in the process of introducing a small number of additional MPAs to Welsh waters but the Wildlife Trusts are keen to keep pressure on the UK governments to provide a well managed network of MPAs all over the UK and protect the marine life living there.

Dolphins by Nia Jones, Wildlife Trusts Wales.

Dolphins by Nia Haf Jones.

The Wildlife Trusts are urging everyone to show their support for MPAs by signing an online petition or texting 'FISH' with your name and postcode to 60777.

There are a number of events happening around Wales during National Marine Week for all the family to get involved with so contact your local Wildlife Trust for more information.

Here are a few events happening in Wales:

  • Monday,1 August at 5pm - Cemlyn Seashore Safari: Rockpooling, strandlining and sea watching to look out for some of the weird and wonderful creatures that live on our shoreline.
  • Wednesday, 3 August at 5pm - Bull Bay: Bring your picnic and watch out for porpoises, seals and sea birds from this beautiful spot. We'll be on hand with equipment, information and top tips for spotting wildlife.
  • Thursday, 4 August at 10am - Rhosneigr Seashore Safari: Rockpooling, strandlining and seawatching.
  • Wednesday, 10 August from 2pm - Rhyl Beach: Games and activities exploring the beach at Rhyl to learn about the marine life found there. Meet on the beach opposite the lifeguards station.
  • Saturday, 13 August from 4.30pm - Llanddulas Rare Reef and Rockpools: Explore the shore and discover the incredible honeycomb worm reef and other seashore marvels.
  • Daily land watches for dolphins from New Quay pier, 9am-5pm.
  • Daily morning (11am) beach cleans, to highlight the problem of marine litter. Results of the daily litter picks will be on Facebook as well as sand sculptures and other fun activities to try at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre.

Simon King OBE, President of The Wildlife Trusts, said: "Our seas are rich in surprising and alien species; fearsome wolf fish, drifting manes of sea kelp studded with blue-rayed limpets which gleam sapphire and technicolour sea slugs."

"National Marine Week is the perfect chance to discover this fascinating world with The Wildlife Trusts. By supporting Petition Fish you are playing your part in creating a network of MPAs, which could ultimately ensure the future health of our seas and sea life."


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