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The MCS Plymouth Local Group

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Latest News

The MCS Plymouth Local Group is very active. You can read about our latest news, and other information, below.

Beach litter pick aims to prevent sealife deaths

Our final beach clean of the year, held on Saturday December 3rd 2011, has been covered in the Herald, including the follow-up details Amy sent out to the local group. Click here to read the article.

Added 15/12/11.

Twice as much litter fouling area's beaches

Our September beach clean has been covered in the Herald, including the details from the email Amy sent out to volunteers. Click here to read the article. The beach clean was again advertised in this article. The cleanup was discussed in this article and the results were then published in the Herald in this article.

Added 06/09/11; updated 30/09/11.

Plan for marine nature reserves

Plans for a series of marine nature reserves off the coast of Plymouth and South East Cornwall have been submitted to government. Click here to read the article in the Herald.

Added 09/09/11.

Volunteer litter-pickers clean beach for wildlife

The results of our July beach clean have been published in the Herald. Click here to read the article in the Herald.

Added 20/07/11.

Hugh's Fantastic Fish Counters!

Following the success of Hugh's fantastic Fish Fight, people are eating a wider range of sustainable fish and it’s being reflected in sales within supermarkets and fishmongers up and down the country. This website has recommendations for the best fish counters throughout the UK.

Added 14/04/11.

April beach clean advertised in Herald

Our April 2011 beach clean has been advertised in the Herald. Click here to read the article in the Herald. Check back soon for a link to the follow-up story!

Added 07/04/11.

March's Cuttlefish talk advertised in Herald

Our March monthly meeting has been advertised in the Herald. Click here to read the article in the Herald.

Added 18/03/11.

"Chef Hugh begins his fight for our fish"

TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will be kicking off his fight to save the UK's fish next week. Click here to read the article in the Herald or visit www.fishfight.net for more information.

Added 25/11/10.

November meeting advertised in Herald

Our November meeting has been advertised in the Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 06/01/11.

"Cleaners pick it up as they go along"

An article about our September beach clean has been published in the Herald. Click here to read it.

Added 25/09/10.

"Beach Clean-up with message"

An article about our July beach clean has been published in the Herald. Click here to read it.

Added 15/07/10.

"Downpours fail to put off beach clean-up volunteers"

An article about our March beach clean has been published in the Herald. Click here to read it.

Added 26/03/10.

"Westcountry beaches the dirtiest in Britain"

Westcountry beaches remain the dirtiest in Britain despite a 30 per cent fall in litter last year. Click here to read the article.

Added 26/03/10.

March beach clean advertised in Herald

Our March beach clean at Batten Bay has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 23/02/10.

November meeting advertised in Herald

Our November meeting has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 20/11/09.

Cuttle Watch

In spring, cuttelfish move from deeper parts of the English Channel into coastal waters to breed. As part of the the CRESH (Cephalopod Recruitment from English-Channel Spawning Habitats) project, they are gathering information on cuttlefish breeding to help the understanding of stocks. You can take part in this exciting project by sending in information on your cuttlefish sightings:

Where and when did you see them?
What sort of habitat were the cuttlefish in (seagrass, rocky, sandy)?
What were they doing (courting, fighting, spawning)?
Were you lucky enough to see a juvenile cuttlefish?
Did you come across some cuttlefish eggs?
What were the eggs attached to?

Sending the information couldn't be easier:
Email: CRESH@mba.ac.uk
Phone (24hr hotline): 01752 255026
Text your sightings to: 07806 938789

And remember, a picture tells a thousand words, so if you have any photos they would love to see them!

Added 31/07/09.

July meeting advertised in Herald

Our July meeting has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 24/07/09.

Beach clean advertised in Herald

Our April beach clean has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 21/04/09.

February meeting advertised in Herald

Our February meeting has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 23/02/09.

BDMLR Charity Race Night

The Mount Pleasant Pub is hosting a Charity Race Night in aid of British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) on Friday 20th March 2009, and would like to invite you to attend. It will be a fun evening to be shared with friends, family and work collegues, with plently of opportunity to win prizes as you cheer on your favourite horse! Creating an atmosphere rivalling the real thing, races are generated at random and displayed on big screen TV's. They are asking people to arrive at 7:30pm, as racing starts at 8:00pm. Tickets are £5, to include a Curry Supper (please retain ticket as this will be exchanged for the meal). Tickets and further information are available by contacting: Nicola Cheeseman (Marine Mammal Medic) on nicolacheeseman@hotmail.co.uk or 07834 412320, or Mick McDonnell (at The Mount Pleasant) on 01752 257017.

Added 21/02/09.

January meeting advertised in Herald again

Our January meeting has been advertised again in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 27/01/09.

January meeting advertised in Herald

Our January meeting has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 26/01/09.

Article about January beach cleans in Herald

The Herald has run an article about our beach cleans, held on Saturday 17th January 2009, with photographs of some of our volunteers. Click here to read the article.

Added 20/01/09.

May meeting advertised in Herald

Our May meeting has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 29/05/08.

"Litter piling up on our beaches"

The Herald has published an article about the MCS Beachwatch 2007 report, with quotes from our Secretary and Beach Cleanup Coordinator, Amy Bugg. Click here to read it.

Added 29/04/08.

MCS launches Beachwatch 2007 report

The MCS launched their Beachwatch 2007 report yesterday. Members of the MCS Plymouth Local Group joined Emma Snowden, MCS Litter Projects Coordinator, on Batten Bay beach yesterday at 6am for live interviews with BBC news. Our Beach Cleanup Coordinator, Amy Bugg, was also interviewed by ITV Westcountry News, Radio Devon and Torquay Radio. Many thanks to Sally Sharrock, John Hepburn and Ryan Flynn for braving such an early start!

The density of litter on Britain’s beautiful beaches is at its highest level since records began, having increased by a massive 96.5%. The report shows that plastic litter on our beaches has increased by a staggering 126% since the annual survey started in 1994. The four key sources of litter were identified as beach visitors (35.3%), fishing litter (13.7%), sewage related debris (6.1%) and shipping litter (1.8%).

More than 71,000 litter items were collected from 59 beaches in the South West. A much higher density of litter was recorded on these beaches than the UK average with 3,230 items per kilometre, compared to the UK average of 2,054 items per kilometre. Litter density was highest in the South West than any other UK region. The South West also recorded the highest density of beach visitor, fishing and sewage related debris that any other region in England.

You can read more about the report on the MCS wesbite.

Added 11/04/08.

Volunteers needed for beach clean for the BBC

On Thursday 10th April, the BBC will be filming a live interview with Emma Snowden from the Marine Conservation Society on our adopted beach at Batten Bay, Mount Batten. They would like volunteers to be cleaning the beach in the background during the filming. We need volunteers to arrive at the beach by 5.30am, ready for the live broadcast at 6am. It would be really good to get a nice-sized group to come along and show that we really care about our local beaches, so please feel free to invite your friends! Please email mcsplymouthlocalgroup@hotmail.com if you would like to take part, so we can get an idea of numbers. We appreciate that this will mean a very early start but we would really appreicate your support. And you'll get to be on TV!!!

Added 08/04/08.

The MCS demands stronger protection measures from today's draft UK marine bill

From the MCS wesbite: The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) are demanding Marine Reserves Now within the Marine Act, published in draft form today. We're delivering 100,000 signatures to Government - dressed in dive kit and with a serious message: we want Marine Reserves Now! View the MCS press release.

Even if you can't be there, you can help - MCS has a beautiful short video clip illustrating some of the UK's wonderful wildlife as part of our campaign for Marine Reserves.

Please view the video clip at http://www.marinereservesnow.org.uk/ and then vote for Marine Reserves today. Read more about the campaign.

Added 03/04/08.

Beach Cleanup, Saturday 29th March 2008

On the morning of Saturday 29th March 2008, the MCS Plymouth Local Group ran a beach clean at their adopted beach, Batten Bay, at Mount Batten.

Despite the appalling weather (cold, heavy rain and southerly winds) 12 brave volunteers ventured out to help with the cleanup. Although it was too wet to perform a survey of the litter found - the forms started disintegrating in the rain! - we managed to clear 10 large bags of rubbish from the beach and helped make a positive difference to the marine environment.

The volunteers stuck it out in the wind and rain for an hour and a half, clearing many different types of rubbish - the most abundant of which was plastic, including bottles, caps, lids, sweet wrappers, paint brush handles and even a child's spade. MCS research has shown that, over the last ten years, plastics have consistently accounted for over 50% of all litter found on beaches. Plastics never truly biodegrade in the marine environment and can persist for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Plastics eventually breakdown into microscopic dust, which can be consumed by filter feeding animals. Pollutants can also persist on the surface of plastics, posing an additional threat to animals once ingested.

Other notable items found included a large amount of fishing net and line, several syringes and over 150 shotgun cartridge wads. We have previously appealed for information on the source of these wads after finding them during our January cleanup and are very concerned that such high numbers are still being washed up onto the beach.

It was disheartening to see how much rubbish was on the beach when we arrived, but truly wonderful to see that people cared enough about the problem to come out and try to make a difference despite the awful weather. We would like to give our most sincere thanks to these volunteers - Margaret Matthews, Mike Siddons, Martin Lavelle, Amy Bugg, Simon Eustace, Dominic Flint, Gemma Brice, Simon Hawke, John Hepburn, Debbie Bauckham and Tom Ballisat - for their dedication to caring for the marine environment.

Our next beach clean will be held at 10am on Sunday 22nd June 2008 at Batten Bay. Further details can be found on the Beach Cleans page, or email mcsplymouthlocalgroup@hotmail.com for further details.

Added 30/04/08.

SCUBA divers wanted to march on Westminster!

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) are calling up British SCUBA divers to join the battle for Britain's seas. Join us for a march on Parliament to demand Marine Reserves Now within the Marine Act, which will be published in draft on 3rd April 2008.

MCS, BSAC and public aquaria have collectively gathered over 100,000 signatures in support of a network of highly protected marine reserves, to be delivered to Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn outside the Houses of Parliament. They need YOUR support, so please register as a demonstrator today. Email sandrac@bsac.com giving your name and contact details. NB: the first 100 divers ONLY will be able to take part in the march (on a first come first served basis). Please DO NOT simply turn up on the day without registering.

Their message is simple: "WE WANT MARINE RESERVES IN THE MARINE ACT NOW!"

Date Of The March: Thursday, 3rd April 2008. Assembly Time: 11:00am. Assembly Point: In front of County Hall (by London Aquarium). What To Bring: mask & snorkel. Optional: diving suit (dry or wet), booties, fins (no dive knives, no tanks, no weights). NB. There will be no changing or storage facilities. A Marine Reserves Now! t-shirt will be provided to participants by the MCS. What You'll Do: Starting at 12:15, you'll march over Westminster Bridge dressed in your diving gear, carrying banners and placards demonstrating your support for Marine Reserves Now! Arrive at Old Palace Yard by St Stephen's Gate, Palace of Westminster, at 12.45. Photo call with divers congregated outside the Houses of Parliament and presentation of Marine Reserves Now! petition to Environment Secretary at 13:00.

Added 26/03/08.

Photo competition

The MCS Plymouth Local Group is holding a photo competition this year. Full details can be found on the Photo Competition page in the Events section, where you can also download the entry form and rules.

Added 20/03/08.

Volunteers requested for March beach clean by Herald

The Herald has appealed for volunteers for our beach clean on Saturday 29th March. Click here to read the article.

Added 19/03/08.

New website launched

The new-look MCS Plymouth Local Group website has just been launched. As well as a complete redesign, some new pages have been added and there is now an extensive Gallery. Let us know what you think - email Amy Bugg at mcsplymouthlocalgroup@hotmail.com.

Added 18/03/08.

Last chance to vote for Marine Reserves

The MCS Marine Reserves Now! campaign comes to a close on 20th March 2008. We will have a copy of the petition for you to sign for the last time at our February monthly meeting on 28th February 2008 (see the Monthly Meetings page for more details). You can still sign online for now at the Marine Reserves Now website - but hurry, this is your last chance!

Added 27/02/08.

Extra protection for Seahorses and Angel Shark

The MCS Plymouth Local Group was very pleased to hear that John Ruddock, Minister for Biodiversity, today announced that the spiny seahorse, short-snouted seahorse and angel shark, along with the water vole and roman snail, will gain extra protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act againist being killed, injured or taken from the wild from 6th April 2008. In addition, the possesion or selling of the spiny seahorse, short-snouted seahorse, water vole and roman snail will become an offence. It will also become an offence to damage or obstruct the spiny seahorse and short-snouted seashorses' place of shelter, or disturb them in their place of shelter. For more information on the Wildlife and Countryside Act, please visit the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website.

Added 26/02/08.

February meeting advertised in Herald

Our February monthly meeting has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 25/01/08.

Daily Mail launches campaign to ban plastic bags

The MCS Plymouth Local Group was delighted to see the Daily Mail's new "Banish the Bags" campaign on 25th February 2008. The campaign aims to help rid the UK of plastic bag litter. You can read more about this on our Campaigns page, where you will also find a link to the Daily Mail's petition.

Added 25/02/08.

Committee member interviewed by Herald

The Herald has published a short interview with our Secretary and Beach Cleanup Coordinator, Amy Bugg. Click here to read it.

Added 06/02/08.

Follow up on the January beach cleans

A high number of plastic shotgun cartridge wads were found at Jennycliffe and Batten Bay during the cleanups on Saturday 12th January 2008. More have since been found on the beaches at Wembury and Bovisand. You can read more about this on our Campaigns page. We are trying to determine the origin of these wads and have been appealing for information from the general public. The Herald ran an article for us on this story (click here to read it) and we have received a number of responses that we are currently following up. We will post our findings on the website at a later date.

Added on 30/01/08.

Beach Cleanups, Saturday 12th January 2008

On 12th January 2008, more than 80 volunteers met at Jennycliffe for a day of beach cleaning. Volunteers from the MCS Plymouth Local Group, the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN), British Trust Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) and Volunteers in Plymouth (ViP) first cleaned Jennycliffe beach, then moved on to Batten Bay for a second cleanup and a Seashore Safari.

Both beaches were very dirty with common litter items consisting of small pieces of plastic, polystyrene, fishing line and crisp and sweet wrappers. Notable finds included an ammunition box and crab pots at Jennycliffe, and a bicycle, steering wheel and discharged smoke cannister at Batten Bay! Plastics were overwhelmingly the most common type of marine litter found at Batten Bay (69%) with polystyrene being the second most common litter type (16%). There was noticeably more fishing line present at Batten Bay than Jennycliffe.

Marine litter is both unsightly and potentially dangerous – thousands of animals die each year through ingestion of, and entanglement in, litter. The data collected from the cleanups will be sent to the MCS for analysis and they will use this data to target marine litter at local, national and international levels.

Our volunteers did a fantastic job and really helped to make a difference to both beaches, removing a whole truck full of rubbish by the end of the day. Volunteers also had the opportunity to discover some of the marine life they had helped to save in the rockpools at Batten Bay during the Seashore Safari, run by MarLIN.

Whilst participating in the cleanups, volunteers were also asked to have their photo taken with a ‘Marine Reserves Now’ poster in support of the Marine Conservation Society’s Marine Reserves campaign. Currently, less than one thousandth of one percent of the UK sea area is fully protected, despite scientists recommending that 20-30% should be protected to ensure its survival. Over 60% of UK fisheries are unsustainable, yet case studies abroad have shown that Marine Reserves can benefit fishing, anglers, divers and biodiversity alike. The support of our volunteers will help to show the government that the public are strong advocates for the protection of our seas. You can read more about the campaign on our Campaigns page.

We would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who came along and made the event such a success; we really appreciate your invaluable support and dedication.

Don't forget to visit the Beach Cleans Gallery to see lots of photos from the day!

Added on 16/01/08.

Article about January beach cleans in Herald

The Herald has run an article about our beach cleans, held on Saturday 12th January 2008, with photographs of some of our volunteers. Click here to read the article.

Added 16/01/08.

January meeting advertised in Herald

Our January monthly meeting has been advertised in The Herald. Click here to read the article.

Added 15/01/08.

Volunteers requested for January beach clean by Herald

The Herald has appealed for volunteers for our beach clean on Saturday 12th January. Click here to read the article.

Added 10/01/08.

Beach Cleanup Coordinator interviewed on Radio Devon

Our Beach Cleanup Coordinator, Amy Bugg, was interviewed this morning live on air on Radio Devon about our upcoming beach clean and the work we do in support of the MCS. The interview was broadcast between 7.15am and 7.30am on the Breakfast Show with James Watts.

Added 08/01/08.

Beach clean to be advertised on ITV news

Amy Bugg, Beach Clean Organiser for the MCS Plymouth Local Group, and Milly Hatton-Brown of the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN) were interviewed at Batten Bay about our upcoming beach clean and Seashore Safari by Claire Manning for ITV Westcountry News on Thursday 3rd January. The piece was aired during the "What's On" section of the programme on Friday 4th January.

Added 05/01/08.

  Seas fit for life