MCS: Conserving Scotland’s Marine Life

A recent call by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) for measures to protect habitats supporting Scotland’s marine animals received a great deal of public support through the charity’s new Sea Champions volunteering initiative. Up to 3,750 pledges of support from the public for thirty-three Marine Protected Areas were gathered and later handed over to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead. The proposed Marine Protected Areas (MPA) have been identified as ‘safe havens’ for sea life, offering protection from what has been defined as ‘damaging activities’ by humans, with littering being an enormous problem.

The Marine Conservation Society is a UK charity working to save threatened sea life and conserve the habitats they depend on. The society’s stated vision is to work toward creating seas that are “fit for wildlife to thrive in and for people to enjoy” and that the seas should be in a state to “support future generations with abundant resources”. Initially active as the Underwater Conservation Society in 1977, the society took on the name of Marine Conservation Society in 1983 and is registered with the Charity Commission. The MCS involves eco-conscious members of the public in various projects, such as cleaning up the beaches, as well as appealing to the public to report situations that need the attention of the society, for example if they spot sewerage overflows or marine animals in distress. Everybody can play a role in cleaning up the coastline by not littering and picking up litter left by others, as well as avoiding the use of plastic in favor of paper wherever possible.

Among the Marine Protected Areas being proposed in Scotland, by both the MCS and the Scottish government, are Loch Fyne, Loch Sunart, Loch Sween, Loch Alsh, Loch Duich and Loch Beg. MCS Scotland program manager, Calum Duncan noted that Scotland has some unique marine life, including flameshell beds, coral gardens, sea lochs, fireworks anemones, sea pen parks, and deepsea sponge fields, which may be lost if steps aren’t taken to provide better protection. The public can continue pledging their support for Marine Protected Areas on the Marine Conservation Society’s website.