The Seasearch project here in Jersey is very active, making a considerable contribution to the UK's data. We have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team who dive and snorkel regularly throughout the year.
We are respected for our contribution towards Marine Conservation providing important data and the opportunity for those interested to get involved.
The team is led by a retired school teacher, Kevin McIlwee, the author of the Jersey Scuba Explorers Guide, who devotes much of his time to carrying out seabed surveys and as the Jersey co-ordinator; administering the group and helping with Marine Conservation issues. He is a Marine Conservation Society, Seasearch Surveyor & Observer Course Tutor.
Kevin is able to offer diving expertise and training as a CMAS Level 3 Expedition Leader & PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor. As such he can assist those keen to support Marine Conservation in obtaining the necessary qualifications and experience. He is a member of the Marine Biology section of the Société Jersiaise, BSAC & PADI and Wetwheels. Also he is a registered specialist Underwater leader with the Association of Jersey Guides.
The Coordinator has the support of a small team of qualified Seasearch Observers and Surveyors, assisted by diving instructors, school teachers, marine experts and qualified guides. Several members of the Team have degrees in Marine Biology.
The submitted reports are audited by the UK based National Coordinator, Charlotte Bolton before being added annually to the National Biodiversity database where it is available for research purposes.
The group regularly carries out surveys throughout the year particularly focusing on rare, threatened and invasive species. Annually we carry out a survey of the outlying reefs and are currently undertaking a Maerl Bed study in conjunction with the Environment Department assisted by the University of Plymouth.
We are very keen to involve students and young people in the project providing as much help and support as possible.
Involving students and enlisting more volunteers has been an ongoing challenge. Potentially several thousand island based students could gain a better understanding of the marine environment and actively make a contribution towards conservation. Schools currently find it difficult to integrate fieldwork into the curriculum. Also developing resources is time consuming, needs guidance and requires funding. Our project provides the opportunity to carry out Marine Conservation fieldwork without increasing teacher workload or expenditure.
In August of 2012, the Marine Photographic workshop on Sark hosted by Sue Daly and attended by UK educators, who are currently developing the shore_thing project, provided an opportunity to explore ways of involving more of our islands community in the conservation initiative.
As a way forward, Jersey Seasearch linked up with the MARLIN shore_thing under the guidance of Fiona Crouch (the shore_thing leader at the time). This project has now been taken over by the Marine Biology section of the Société Jersiaise whose volunteers organise regular beach surveys and are happy to assist with school and college groups. This well structured scheme provides all the resources teachers and youth leaders need to encourage participation in a constructive way. We now have our own Education team who are developing materials for schools and yout groups.
Marine Conservation Society 'Our Seas Our Future'
Our Seas Our Future is a blueprint for the future of our seas - the Marine Conservation Society’s five year plan towards our vision of Seas Fit for Life. Download the document using the underlined link. Or clicking the picture.
It sets out the key threats and issues currently affecting UK seas and where we will target our efforts over the period 2015-2020 to find lasting solutions.