Project Seagrass

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Oceans Festival was a day to celebrate work being carried out by scientists, educators, volunteers, artists and many more. There was a variety of stands all sharing the same passion for our oceans. With stalls selling sustainable and plastic free items to beautiful artwork of marine mammals as well as yummy vegan food there was something for everyone.

There was a variety of stands all sharing the same passion for our oceans.

Matt Brierley started the talks off on his new documentary he has been filming on the shark trade in the UK. It was shocking to find out that spiny dogfish which is critically endangered in the northern Atlantic is majority eaten in our fish and chip shops. These female sharks take 12 years to reach sexual maturity and has one of the longest gestation periods of any vertebrate, up to 2 years! Aside from this, illegal species are being brought into London fish markets, such as a juvenile scalloped hammerhead which is critically endangered and listed on CITES. It was terrifying to find out this happening in the UK. To move forward Matt wants “shark” to be labelled in fish and chips shops rather than the many other names it is given. This will make people more aware on what they are actually eating!

A shocking fact I learnt at Scotland basking shark talk was that these sharks are consuming 440g of plastic every hour!

There was a huge range of talks given from Lizzie DalyBlue VenturesManta Trust and the Wave Project. This charity helps children who have had difficulties in their life and teaches them how to surf as a form of therapy. This massively helps build their confidence people, even changes the lives of these young people. This charity emphases how our oceans are used for a huge variety of purposes.

To end the talks Andy Reid from Fins attached shared his involved with the charity and shared the legacy of Rob Stewart. This really touched me as when I was so inspired by Rob and his team growing up and how motivated he was to do everything he possibly can to save sharks and raise awareness of what is happening in the shark finning industry. His legacy carries on and with a new research vessel called Sharkwater which is traveling the globe to collect valuable marine data.

On the stand it was great to hear such positive feedback from people about the project and to educate people about the importance of these incredible underwater plants. As well as seeing people wanting to get involved with the work being carried out by Project Seagrass. Overall there was a great sense of ocean optimism that spread across the festival, with people who are making a difference and to save our blue planet.

Hopefully there will be more brilliant events like these. Thank you Oceans Festival 2019 for having us, and to everyone who volunteered. It was very fulfilling and enjoyable day!

Thank you for reading.

Issy Inman