Cumbria Crack

Help save our Irish Sea

Emily Baxter looking for porpoises and seals off the Cumbrian coast at St Bees and Grey seals at South Walney Nature Reserve, the North West’s only breeding colony

[T]he wildlife of the Irish Sea is in urgent need of our protection and everyone can do their bit. That is the inspiring message of this year’s National Marine Week, which runs from Saturday 29 July to Sunday 13 August (it’s actually a fortnight, to take advantage of the tides!).

National Marine Week is the Wildlife Trusts’ UK-wide celebration of the amazing sea life found all around our coast. It encourages everyone to think about how their lives have been linked to the sea and its inhabitants. Emily Baxter, Senior Marine Conservation Officer at Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “Whether you have spent holidays at Arnside, Walney, St Bees, Maryport or Allonby, or you work in fishing, tourism or coastal conservation, we are hoping to inspire and remind you of your connection with the Irish Sea and fond memories of time spent on the coast.

“Our Irish Sea is home to some amazing wildlife! Whales, dolphins and turtles visit us every year to feed. There is a huge variety of seabirds, and grey seals haul out and breed on Walney Island near Barrow-in-Furness.”

Emily continued: “Natural wonders occur, like the arrival of hundreds of thousands of geese and wading birds each autumn and the huddling together of hundreds of oystercatchers in Morecambe Bay. This wonderful wildlife if at risk unless we have a network of protected areas around the coast of the UK. We have managed to create a number of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the Irish Sea but we need more, to ensure that these special areas are linked, for important species.”

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is putting pressure on the Government to create more MCZs and to ensure that the health of the Irish Sea continues to improve, making it an even better place for wildlife.

Emily said: “We want people to get involved and become even more passionate about their own bit of the sea. By becoming a member of your local Wildlife Trust or a Friend of a Marine Conservation Zone, you will be supporting the work we are doing, whether it be lobbying Government, restoring habitats or getting children interested in the wildlife that lives in the Irish Sea.”

You can also take part in a local National Marine Week event, including:

  • Shore walk at Allonby Bay on Wednesday 26 July (a warm up to National Marine Week)
  • Beached Art festival at St Bees Beach on Sunday 30 July
  • Sea watch at St Bees on Tuesday 1 August
  • Sea watch at Maryport on Thursday 3 August

Many more events on the north-west coast can be found on the Wildlife Trusts’ Irish Sea website at

Why not make a pledge to the sea, for example, help to reduce marine litter by saying no to single-use plastics like cups, bags and straws which can end up in the oceans? Show your support and join in the conversation @LivingSeasNW

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