Marine Awareness Week, an annual event designed to raise the profile of St Helena Island’s marine environment, underwater habitats and species, was this year celebrated between 12-18 March 2018.
Saint Travel Ltd spoke to the Environmental Management Division (EMD), who explained why the theme, ‘Our Invisible Oceans’ was chosen. They said:
“We currently have a Darwin funded project running on-Island that focuses on the oceanographic influences on the pelagic ecosystem. It seemed to link in nicely with the project to base this year’s Marine Awareness Week on plankton – the ‘snack of the sea’ for which most marine life is dependent upon in one way or another.
Plastics is also a hot topic everywhere, and this followed on nicely from the Environmental Conference earlier in the year, where plastic experts from the Ocean Conservancy came to highlight the negative impact of plastic in our ocean.”
As part of Marine Awareness, EMD wrote a message in the local newspapers, which read:
There were many Marine Awareness activities held throughout the week, and included:
The local radio stations broadcasting fun facts and information relating to the theme ‘Our Invisible Ocean’, personnel from the Saint Helena National Trust, Beth and Leigh interviewed by Saint FM Community Radio, wildlife interaction and sightseeing tours conducted by various accredited marine tour operators, and information displays and activities, including educational videos and magnetic fishing games, hosted at the Mule Yard. (Unfortunately, due to the rough seas, members of EMD were unable to collect any marine life to place in the ever popular touch tanks)
On Wednesday, 14 March, a Marine Quiz Night was held at the Mule Yard. A total of four teams entered, and everyone have great fun. All monies raised on the night went towards the St Helena Nature Conservation Group charities.
On Friday, 16 March, EMD, St Helena National Trust Marine Team, partnering with Waste Management Services, conducted a clean-up in the Rupert’s Bay area. Twenty seven persons attended, and in total, 71.5kg of rubbish was collected from the beach (plus additional material from the surrounding area). Volunteers who cleaned the beach were educated about marine litter, where it comes from and, in particular, the impact it has on our environment, and how we can help reduce marine litter in the long-term.
Saturday, 17 March, a scuba dive litter pick took place in James Bay and saw seven divers, with the support of Into the Blue, clear an area in the bay. A total of eight bags of rubbish and two tyres were collected.
Remember this is our Island, our environment, our responsibility!
#stoptheplastictide #morefishlessplastic #backthebluebelt #sthelena #maw2018