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Winter Newsletter

Berwickshire Marine Reserve

15 Dec 2022

2022 has been busy, with staff changes and new projects. We welcomed our new Executive Director, Andy Ashcroft, in June and have had a lot of exciting developments. Read on to find out what we have been up to...

Splash in 2022

We received some fantastic entries into this year's competition showcasing the wonderful marine life and coastline we have here in Berwickshire.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the competition, and to our prize donors for your generous donations. Also a special thank you to Kimberly Tweed for her fantastic images captured of the St Abbs and Eyemouth fishermen (pictured).

Well done to the overall winner of the competition Stephen Burgess for his entrant 'The Monkfish’.

Lobster Hatchery and Marine Education Centre

After a busy Summer, which saw almost 3000 visitors to the Lobster Hatchery and Marine Education Centre, the juvenile lobsters were finally ready to set free in the early Autumn. We released a total of 120 juveniles back to the sea with the help from our regular volunteers, schools, SnorkelWild and even local councillors. After a successful first season open we plan to come back even bigger and better for next season! Thank you to SBC, The National Lottery, Drone Hill Wind Farm and everyone else who have helped to support this project so far.

Codes of ConductOver the last 6 months our team have been busy undertaking recreational user questionnaires, as well as catching up with local boat operators, to help inform in the updating of our codes of conduct. Alongside updating our codes we will also be releasing a user guide promoting sustainable recreational use of the marine reserve. If you would like to have your voice heard in updating our codes of conduct it's not too late to get in touch! You can expect to see the updated codes and user guide in the New Year so keep your eyes peeled.

It’s in the Bag!Two of our regular volunteers, Jenny and Lynne, have been using the skills they learned on the Marine Mammal Medic Course into good effect. The training course, organised in conjunction with BDMLR, and made possible thanks to funding from the Scottish Fishermen’s Trust, trained 10 local people who are now on call to help in the rescue of marine wildlife.The seal pupping season has led to a spate of call outs with every rescue having its challenges and its stories. Following a delay to the recovery of an abandoned grey seal pup at Coldingham Bay Jenny asked BMR to help with some basic equipment, which will be stored locally, to help speed up the recovery of abandoned or injured seals. Our friends and colleagues at Berwickshire & Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership were keen to help support local volunteer actions and have provided funding for a BDMLR ‘Seal Bag’ which the local trained volunteers will put to good use. We have also received donation of a dog crate to help with the transportation of sick or injured pups, thanks to a generous member of the public!If you find a seal pup that you believe may be in distress, please do not approach it, keep dogs on leads and call the BDMLR on 01825 765546 or SSPCA on 03000 999 999

Talks ProgrammeThanks to funding from The National Lottery, NNG and Magic Little Grants, we have been able to organise a talks programme over the winter months. So far local underwater photographer Lawson Wood has given a talk to Eyemouth High School photography students, and our volunteers have heard from National Trust Ranger Ciaran Hatsell and one of our trustees and cetacean expert Caroline Lathe. We have more school and public talks coming in the New Year, so please keep an eye on our social media for details and booking information.

Science at the Hippodrome!In October we collaborated with the St Abbs Marine Station, receiving funding from Darwin Tree of Life Project to deliver a community outreach event. We were able to host higher and advanced higher biology students from Eyemouth High School who joined us for an intertidal survey of the abundance and biodiversity of life at St Abbs. They then joined us at the Hippodrome to extract the DNA of some seaweed samples. It was a fantastic experience, with lots learned and we hope to replicate it again in the New Year.At the end of November, we hosted our very own Oceans Experiments day! Our doors were open to the public to come along and find out the secrets of the sea through a few hands on experiments. What a great day! Thanks to everyone who came along, hopefully we can do it again next year!

And finally, a few words from our Executive Director Andy Ashcroft….

2022 has been a year of recovery and rebuilding. I’m grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm shown by our volunteers, Trustees, past and present staff, and for the support of our funders. All have played a role in supporting BMR to deliver conservation and environmental education programmes. Whether it’s been wind swept, rain drenched beach cleans, citizen science surveys or talking about the life cycle of Lobsters in the Hatchery all of these tasks have helped people to learn about and reconnect with the environment.

The Hatchery and Marine Education Centre exhibitions have been important in attracting the interests of new audiences and it has been encouraging to see the interest shown by the public in marine life and habitats. Those visiting the Berwickshire Coast on holiday found us a new environmental visitor attraction which even drew five star reviews on Tripadvisor

Looking to the new year, I hope we can further develop our core work to interest, engage and involve wider audiences in conservation and environmental work. 2023 will bring its own challenges, and opportunities, and we will have to be creative in our response to ensure the support and commitment of friends old and new.

A final, personal, thanks from me to Lauren and Alex for showing me the ropes.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,


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