8 Jun 2023
World Ocean Day 2023
Each year on 8th June the United Nations celebrates World Ocean Day and rallies the world for ocean and climate action. The day aims to bring a diverse range of organisations and businesses together to effectively engage the public, inform policymakers, and unite the world to protect and restore the ocean and create a stable climate. Every year the day is given a different theme. This year, the focus is on ‘Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing’
Locally, over the past year, Berwickshire Marine Reserve (BMR) have worked with our volunteer coastal champions to help protect marine and coastal wildlife and preserve the environmental quality of the Berwickshire Coast by collecting over 450 Kgs of marine litter. Our coastal champions include BMR volunteers, schoolchildren from Coldingham and Eyemouth Primary and Eyemouth High School, and local businesses including Farne Salmon, Plexus Corp, Eyemouth Marine and Eyemouth Harbour Trust.
With funding from Inspiring Scotland BMR have been able to deliver an ambitious 'Spring Clean' programme and, at a request for help from The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), to tackle one of our biggest beach clean challenges, Lumsdaine beach. The Head Ranger at St Abbs Head, Ciaran Hatsell said ‘Lumsdaine Shore holds one of the largest assemblages of breeding Grey Seals along the Berwickshire coast, with over 800 pups born there in the winter of 2022. It is also part of the National Nature Reserve here at St Abb’s Head (one of only 43 in Scotland) and part of the wider Berwickshire Marine Reserve.
It also happens to be a point of aggregation for marine litter which can pose a very real threat to wildlife. Rope entanglement and plastic ingestion continue to be key causes of death for marine mammals and seabirds. With all the other pressures and stresses they face, they could really do without it!
Working for the National Trust for Scotland at St Abbs Head, we see it as our duty to minimise any threats to the wildlife in this amazing place and working together with the BMR we plan to target more beaches in the years to come.’
Accessing the beach was the first part of this challenge involving BMR and NTS staff scrambling down the cliffs to clean the beach and stockpile the accumulated rubbish. The next challenge was how to retrieve the rubbish collected. This needed help from someone with a boat. St Abbs Charters kindly stepped forward. Skipper of 'Stingray' Danny Wright said 'As a local tourism business that brings visitors to the area we were keen to help protect our beautiful Berwickshire Coastline and its wildlife'. ‘Stingray’ stood off the beach while BMR and NTS staff ferried the collected rubbish on paddleboards and kayaks to the boat to get it to St Abbs and into the safe hands of Scottish Borders Council. Not a typical beach clean but one that will be remembered by those involved.
Lauren Nieuwenhuys, BMR’s Community Officer added ‘We are hosting World Ocean Day educational events with Ayton Primary School and Coldingham Primary School and Nursery. We believe that the key to preserving the future of our marine and coastal environment is to engage and involve local young people. They are the ones whose lives will be shaped by the Tides Changing’.
The battle against marine litter is an ongoing task and BMR have organised a range of events as part of the Scottish Coastal Clean Up 2023. BMR are leading beach cleans at Killiedraughts on the 7th June and Linkum on the 10th June.
To become one of our coastal champions check our Website, www.berwickshiremarinereserve.org.uk, to find out how you can help us conserve the Berwickshire Coast and our Facebook page, @berwickshiremarinereserve, for future events and activities.