We must preserve our ocean’s beauty

SEA BED A Cuttlefish in its natural habitat. '   Picture: Paul Naylor
SEA BED A Cuttlefish in its natural habitat. ' Picture: Paul Naylor
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Tim Ferrero, head of marine conservation at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, tells people to be aware of impact we have on the ocean

However, some of these magnificent ocean giants are now in decline due to decades of damage and unsustainable exploitation of the oceans.

Whether it’s collisions with ships, dolphins getting tangled in nets or accidentally caught, pollution working its way through the food chain – our impact on marine life has been devastatingly clear.

Although the government has introduced protected areas in our seas, the reality is that the nutrient-rich places ocean giants like whales and dolphins need for feeding, breeding and socialising remain unprotected.

Some species have global migration routes, taking in thousands of miles and need a network of protected areas specifically to support them.

Meanwhile, new threats like the eight million tons of plastic rubbish, which ends up in the ocean every year, often chokes or kills animals like sea turtles, dolphins, and birds as it is mistaken for food or entangles them as they swim.

Even areas of the deep seabed which are being explored for the first time are polluted by human litter, and in the waters around Europe most of this is plastic.

The oceans are hugely important for wildlife, but also for us.

Over half of the oxygen in our atmosphere is produced by seaweeds, seagrasses, and microscopic algae.

The oceans also play an important role in regulating our climate by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide and heat.

We rely on the ocean’s ecosystems too, eating some 357,000 tonnes of seafood products in the UK alone.

National Marine Week at the start of August is a good time to reflect on our amazing marine habitats, and find out more about the creatures in our sea.

In celebration we have lots of events across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight throughout August.

From seashore safaris and rockpool rummages to undersea explorers in a swimming pool, there are plenty of activities to choose from.

There will be events taking place throughout the month – to find out what we have planned, visit our website hiwwt.org.uk.

Why not come down to find out and explore what’s beneath the waves, and 
what you can do to help our ocean?