Save Our Seas – The Marine Conservation Society

MCS Marine Conservation Society

The Marine Conservation Society, MCS, is the voice for everyone who loves the sea, working to secure a future for our living seas, and to save our threatened sea life before it is lost forever.

Almost nowhere in UK seas is marine wildlife safe from harm and the need to establish marine protected areas where wildlife can recover and flourish is vital.

  • Beach litter has doubled over the last decade.
  • 88% of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished or depleted.
  • Once common fish such as skate and cod are now rare.

MCS’ work ensures that the sea’s rich wildlife can be restored, fish stocks grow more plentiful, and our beaches and seawater become cleaner.

As a charity MCS depends entirely on the generosity and enthusiasm of its supporters, people like you and me who want to continue enjoying our seas for the fantastic wild places they are as well as helping support a sustainable fishery around the UK coastline.

If nothing is done this rich and diverse habitat will be lost forever so in a rare plee from me I ask you to visit their website and find out how you can help save our seas.

(some text and images are copied from the Marine Conservation website)


  1. Ian Allen said:

    Be careful that you don’t vote your hobby out of existence. Words like ‘turkeys’, ‘Christmas’ and ‘voting’ leap to mind

    December 30, 2010
    • Stu said:

      You’re right Ian, but something has to be done and any awareness is better than none. I sometimes think these types of organisations can go to far but looking through their website they’re not proposing a blanket ban everywhere – just certain areas which has been proved to increase quality and quantity of sea life in adjacent areas thus helping the commercial fisheries rather than hindering them, Lundy Island is a case in point.

      December 30, 2010
  2. John Harrison said:

    Unfortunately the MCS is deeply rooted in the opinion and have proposed that no fishing should take place in any MCZs. That my friend is an affront to my liberty and right to fish which I cannot and will not support. It is very easy to be taken in by the MCS who are an organisation derived from divers, have they also included no diving in their proposals? I think you will find the answer is no. We all want to see conservation being undertaken to protect our seas but without any conclusive scientific evidence on what they want to protect and how just a blanket ban on fishing will not work. Lundy has only ever been fished in ernest from boats and infrequently by RSAs they still fish and have continued to do so since protective measures have been in place. So any evidence of recovery is noy due to a ban on fishing. The Lundy conservation area was set up to protect the rare corals and marine growths which it has done it was never set up to protect the fish stocks. A vote for MCS and their policies is a vote against the freedom to fish, once gone it will be gone forever.

    December 30, 2010
  3. lewi said:

    •Beach litter has doubled over the last decade.- is that why more and more beaches are getting blue flag awards each year?
    •88% of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished or depleted. – 88% where did these figures come from?
    •Once common fish such as skate and cod are now rare.- is this why i just had the best cod season for years?

    December 31, 2010
  4. william Sillman said:

    Unfortunately the MCS are a group of people ,that are selfishly trying to preserve there own hobby with no consideration to other people and there hobbies. Thousands of anglers will have there fishing ares taken away from them, when they only have a minimal effect on the local environment. Angling has a very positive effect on the countries economy, with thousands of people both directly and indirectly employed in the angling trade. these people will almost certainly end up unemployed id the MCS have their way

    December 31, 2010
  5. Stu said:

    Lewi – there is no doubt litter is getting worse, it is only because pationate people clean up other peoples crap that beaches get blue flag, that and the fact that blue flag is more than just the beach – it’s water quality as well. Cod are undoubtedly rarer than they were, many factors are involved in this but surely cleaner safe areas for small fish to breed and prosper can only help increase stock level.

    William – as for the MCS selfishly preserving their own ‘hobby’ I’m not sure what you mean. If you look at their site thoroughly they support all areas that use the seas, everyone knows that angling produces more for the economy than the commercial fishing fleet and let’s be honest, there is no way it will ever be banned – how could you possibly police it for example?

    What I see (and this is only my opinion) the MCS doing is raising awareness that something must be done. Like I said earlier, areas of conservation have been proven to increase stocks in adjacent locations – this can only be a good thing. As anglers and hopefully people that want to look after our wonderful marine life and environment surely we have a vested interest in protecting our oceans and as the MCS is trying to do the same thing or until something better comes along, I will support them in the same way I support the angling trust.

    December 31, 2010
  6. Ian Allen said:

    Stu I know where your coming from but i’ve been to a public meeting hosted by the MCA and the person delivering the lecture openly admitted her preferred option would be a sea without anglers.

    As William points out they are an organization primarily populated by divers.

    The statistics they use seem very persuasive until you look into them. I think they quote something like so many thousand coop customers voted in favour of marine Conservation but that does not mean anything. Everybody wants some model of conservation, but the no take zones they are proposing in south Wales are some of the best marks in the country.

    What if the question was more like this?

    Shall we stop Uncle Jo and Grandpa bob fishing their favourite mark 6 maybe 7 times a year?

    please don’t think I am anti conservation, i’m not, but why should rod and line anglers be punished for the sins of others? They will not even envisage some kind of self policing catch and release policy with bag limits. Now ask me if i think commercial angling should be prohibited in set aside areas and i would give you a very big yes siree bob.

    December 31, 2010
  7. Stu said:

    Good point Ian and I agree that commercial angling should be prohibited in certain areas. I think the MCS mean well and I agree about the divers angle since my brother dives a lot but currently there isn’t really any alternative to highlight our coasts plight. The Angling Trust is still seen by many as powerless and since it has the word angling in it is seen as having it’s own agenda.

    Maybe if people like us helped direct the MCS at meetings etc we can help guide them to make the right choices – a tall order I know but if we stay quiet and do nothing one of two things will happen; either the MCS won’t get anything done and the coast will suffer or they’ll blanket ban everything and everyone will suffer.

    Anyway – the post did what I wanted 🙂 Got us talking about the subject… 🙂

    As for divers, personally I think if there is a conservation area they should be banned as well, you don’t see bird watchers tramping through nesting areas on nature reserves do you?

    December 31, 2010
  8. Victor Lilygreen said:

    Of course at first glance the concept of the MCS & their “Save Our Seas” slogan stirs the blood, we all want to save our seas, but when you look in greater detail at how they intend to save our seas you might just have second thoughts, (especially if you are an angler). They are proposing 14 MCZ’s in Wales, all of which would prohibit rod & line angling, & what purpose would that serve? If they actually named a species of fish they were trying to protect, because it was being over exploited by rod & line angling then there would be some substance in their proposals, but there are no fish species mentioned as being over exploited by rod & line angling.
    Furthermore they have also publicly condemned the Welsh Assembly Govt for proposing that these first Highly Protected Areas will be within areas which already have a measure of protection, & this after accepting a grant of £40,000 from the WAG quango the Countryside Council for Wales, to “publicise the proposed establishment of MCZ’s in Wales”, one would think that if MCS & WAG are so far apart in policy, that £40,000 should be returned, seeing as 75% of the MCS proposed zones wont need “publicising”, & we hardly need to be “publicly informed” of what we already know about the other 25%?
    “Save Our Seas” by all means, but not on a false premise that will directly affect the estimated 1.2 million sea anglers in the UK!

    December 31, 2010
  9. Stu said:

    Wow – this topic certainly stirred up a few comments – thanks guys.

    Obviously the MCS’ proposals need looking into. It’s just a shame the Angling Trust, a body that in theory should protect the rights of anglers, seems to be so ineffective when it come to sea anglers.

    January 3, 2011
  10. Save Our Seas – The Marine Conservation Society » Sea Fishing ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

    January 3, 2011
  11. JL said:

    Dear Sea Fishing and Walking,

    I work for the MCS.

    We believe angling to provide a hugely important social and economic role for coastal communities. MCS also believes that the damage done by angling to habitats is negligible relative to most commercial fisheries. MCS also believes that it provides a very important sense of freedom to individuals to carry out a benign and fairly harmless enjoyable activity, and that anglers should have a significant say in coastal marine conservation issues.

    We have spent the last four years trying – and partially succeeding – in reducing the impact of scallop dredging in Welsh Special Areas of Conservation. This work we’ve done to convince WAG that scallop dredging (and other bottom towed fishing gears) is detrimental to our seas, and is frankly illegal in Special Areas of Conservation, has resulted in a Wales Scallop Order (2010) banning scalloping in Welsh SACs from last year. I think we can all agree that this work has been vital. Please let us know if you see any such vessels operating in SACs, as we’d be keen to hear about this.

    However, we also believe that we should have some areas off limits in inshore biodiverse habitats to all forms of take. Only then will we truly be able to see what the potential of the marine environment is to blossom and/or change. World record angling catches are taken adjacent to the Cape Canaveral ‘marine reserve’ (where the space shuttle takes off from). Also catches of reef fish in the Mediterannean were more significant for anglers on the edge of small local marine reserves. We feel the same effects could be observed in Wales. You can of course, vote NO to our marine reserve proposals on our website.

    So our vision is for small coastal marine reserves to be nested within a network of much wider protected areas where all destructive activities (e.g. demersal fishing and dumping) are prohibited.

    We believe this will actually benefit anglers in the long-term (most of you will probably disagree with this), and that anglers will continue to be the champions for marine conservation.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jean-Luc Solandt

    January 13, 2011
  12. Stu said:

    Thanks for your reply Jean-Luc

    Firstly thank you for responding to this post – the greater the awareness of the problems we all face as people who love our seas the better, whether we agree with how this can be fixed is another matter.

    I personally agree with the stance of the MCS but obviously a lot of my friends who are anglers and / or commercial fisherman find it hard to accept that a blanket ban in certain areas is the way to go.

    So long as a dialogue between interested parties continues I’m sure we can all work together to help save our seas.

    January 14, 2011
  13. Ken said:

    MCS diving members are also shooting themselves in the foot; there will be NO DIVING in the MCZs apart from a few very select divers on marine surveys.

    As an ex-diver I can state a bad diver will do far more damage than any angler. I like many other anglers agree 100% there must be conservation but recreational sea anglers are not the ones to hound.

    One of my main concerns is the food chain for sea birds the main one being the humble sand eel which is scooped up by the ton for feeding farmed fish and pigs.

    Then we have the pair trawlers and their factory ships scooping up thousands of tons of fish per year and discarding up to 50% of their catch because they are under size, over quota or not of commercial value.

    Heavy trawls completely destroying the sea bed, sand and gravel extraction doing like wise.

    Do we really need to keep spelling it out to the MCS? If they want to target marine conservation that is where they should start but to do that they will have to put together some sound scientific evidence and I personally do not think they are up to it and that is the reason they target RSAs.

    February 3, 2011
  14. Steven said:

    I like the ideas behind the MCZ’s, we do need to be actively doing more to look after the Countryside, Beaches, Seas, etc etc…

    However, personally I can’t see what benefit banning a shore angler would do? I have seen a lot of coast lines up and down the country and there is only so far an angler can cast out, there is also the tide that the angler follows up and down the beach, sure certain marks might mean casting onto coral beds or into areas under the water potentially considered more important but it first has to be established what it is infact your trying to save or encourage back.
    Furthermore it only takes a mere look onto the beach to see what us fishermen as casting onto, in my opinion an MCZ is not going to change the beach.

    I have seen first hand the damage done by trawlers dragging nets along the sea bed, once fertile areas are under water deserts.
    But again how does fishing from the beach damage this? or even on a Charter boat or private?

    I can understand banning commercial fishing because and let’s face it, this is where most of the damage is made, the biggest cul prate being quantities of fish.

    Now I am a shore angler, born and bred it is a passion and a hobby, I’d like to and want to fish wherever I please.

    However, I’m not selfish and of course I realise we do need to respect our waters and the life within.
    So can everyone be pleased? is there a mutual ground between anglers and the MCS?

    Well, I do have an idea and maybe it’s worth it, maybe it isn’t.

    An MCZ places a ban on everything, fishing, diving you name it, it’s banned. But what happens if he funding runs out, it becomes forgotten about, no-so important it will look bad for everyone.

    So… allow fishing and allow diving, but introduce a license for said activity in the MCZ… ok you have to pay but in return you get benefits, possibly chances of better fishing, cleaner beaches, more space and any other multitude of things.

    It is important for those of us not so up on fish in general, that fish move in shoals and don’t stay in just one area so and I suppose in a way you could argue that whilst commercial fishing has damaged stocks, the movement of fish might have also changed, this needs to be taken into consideration.

    Anyway those are my thought on the matter 🙂

    February 4, 2011
  15. Simon Baty said:

    I would like to point out that the current 50+ mph SW winds will be doing far more damage to my local shore than I could do in a lifetime as a shore angler. Shore anglers can only fish within 200 yards. from the shore. All the rubbish that the sea can hold will be deposited on the beaches. One does need to get ones priorities right. Regards, Si

    February 4, 2011

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