Help Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Give Seas a Chance this World Oceans Day

Social group of bottlenose dolphins playing in Moray Firth in beautiful golden evening light. Sequence Pic 1 of 6 - John MacPherson/2020VISION

Today’s promising news to begin the process for designating Highly Protected Marine Areas by the end of 2022 shows what decades of campaigning can achieve, and is a glimmer of hope for the future of our seas.

We have ten years to turn the tide or Yorkshire’s seas could fall silent forever… it’s time to take action, but the Trust cannot give our seas the chance to recover without your help.

Our Yorkshire seas and coastlines are home to incredible habitats and breath-taking wildlife spectacles. Colourful puffins nest in the great cliffs at Flamborough, playful dolphins chase shoals of fish in the deep sea and, when the tide goes out, the mysteries of the seabed are revealed in dozens of creature-filled rockpools. Our ancient seas may seem infinite and unchanging, but, tragically, the reality is far from that…

Ana Cowie, Marine Pollution Officer for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, says: “Sadly, much of our marine wildlife is a shadow of what it once was. The carpet of oysters that once lined the Humber Estuary are a distant memory, seabirds like kittiwakes are rapidly declining in numbers (40% since the 1970s), and a search along the seashore is now likely to uncover more plastic bottle tops and tangled rope than pretty seashells. The climate emergency, over exploitation and pollution are all pushing our beloved marine wildlife - like colourful puffins, playful dolphins and fascinating oysters - to the brink.”

But hope is not lost. We can turn the tide and restore a thriving marine environment that plays a vital part in protecting our climate and wildlife. In this, their 75th anniversary year, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is asking everyone to come together to Give Seas a Chance and donate to fund their vital marine work. 

By working with Yorkshire’s urban, rural and coastal communities, using cutting-edge science and partnering with other innovative organisations and experts, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is working hard to change the fate of our marine world. They run community projects to keep pollution out of our seas, putting on regular beach cleans across the coast to safely collect waste; they introduce and restore Natural Climate Solutions like seagrass meadows and oyster colonies to naturally clean our seas and trap carbon beneath the waves; and they campaign for bigger and better managed Marine Protected Areas where ocean life is protected.

This World Ocean’s Day, Defra has announced it will begin the process for designating Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) by the end of 2022, setting an ambitious commitment to protect our seas. HPMAs offer the highest level of protection for ocean areas, giving the habitats and the wildlife that live, breed and feed there the chance to not only stabilise, but recover. This exciting news was made possible by decades of campaigning by dedicated conservation groups including Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Trusts.

Every year, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust must raise over £75,000 to fund their vital and effective marine conservation work, without which our precious Yorkshire seas could fall silent forever.

Ana says: “Today’s promising news shows what decades of campaigning can achieve, and is a glimmer of hope for the future of our seas. Donating to the Give Seas a Chance campaign will help make achievements like this possible, and contribute to a better, brighter future for our marine wildlife.”

Go to ywt.org.uk/give-seas-a-chance to find out more about Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s marine work, and donate to the campaign.