In a move that other countries could do well to copy, there is a new effort in the United Kingdom to enlist the help of sailors and other boaters to consider their impact on the local marine life that they encounter, and to help by reporting sightings.
The new guide is to be launched in the UK by The Wildlife Trusts and The Green Blue, the joint environment initiative from the Royal Yachting Association and the British Marine Federation.
The Green Marine Wildlife Guide is to be launched at London's Tullett Prebon International Boat Show this month.
The free Guide contains beautiful, full colour illustrations of marine wildlife including species of dolphin and jellyfish, along with key information on how to respect the space of marine animals. Under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act it is illegal to disturb wildlife, and the guide gives details of how to avoid breaking this law, providing safe distances and other advice.
Sea-users are also encouraged to report all sightings to The Wildlife Trusts’ website wildlifetrusts.org. Information gathered will play a vital role in conservation work.
Joan Edwards, head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts, said: 'We can all appreciate the magic of an encounter with wildlife, and how this boosts our enjoyment of the ocean. It is all of our interests to ensure our seas are Living Seas, where wildlife can thrive, and we hope The Green Marine Wildlife Guide will make it easier to understand the role sea-users can play in making this happen.
'Whether it’s ensuring we give wildlife enough space on land or at sea, or helping organisations like The Wildlife Trusts to stay aware of what’s out there, we can all contribute to a healthy marine environment.'4
Sarah Brown from The Green Blue said: 'Boaters are always keen to learn more about the wildlife they enjoy while out on their boats. This guide provides loads of important information about how to identify and enjoy wildlife without the risk of disturbance or harm to either the animals or themselves!'
The Green Marine Wildlife Guide has been produced as part of the RYA and British Marine Federation environmental awareness initiative The Green Blue. The leaflet is available to download from The Wildlife Trusts’ website here: http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/index.php?section=environment:marine:sightings
For those who are near enough to attend, the Green Marine Wildlife Guide will be launched as part of three marine wildlife talks to be held at 12.40pm on Monday 10, Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 13 January 2011 in The Knowledge Box at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show at ExCel, and the Guide is also available from RYA Stand A85 at the Show.