People crossing the Solent with Wightlink are learning more about life beneath the waves this spring and summer, thanks to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
In 2018, the Trust was awarded £640,300 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver a new four year project called Secrets of the Solent. It includes interactive and interesting educational sessions on the ferries delivered by staff and volunteers. The first have already been held on Wightlink’s Portsmouth-Fishbourne and Lymington-Yarmouth routes.
Community Engagement Officer Emily Stroud is leading the initiative and has a team of enthusiastic volunteer Marine Champions to help her. She said: “We are looking forward to meeting Islanders, holidaymakers, and everyone on board Wightlink’s ferries to explain more about the wealth of marine life that calls the Solent home and encourage them to explore the beaches for themselves.
“Thousands of people live and work along the coast and many more visit every year, yet very few are aware of the incredible, hidden life under the surface, including beautiful seagrass meadows, seahorses and cuttlefish. We will also be telling them how birds like cormorants fish for their supper and more about unusual visitors to our shores such as dolphins and sharks.”
Nicola Craig, Wightlink Environmental Officer, said: “Our customers and staff are keen to know more about the marine wildlife beneath the waves and I’m delighted that the Trust is working in partnership with us.”
Through Secrets of the Solent, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust encourages people to appreciate, understand, and support the Solent. The campaign has the following aims:
Less pollution and plastic litter in our seas
More information about the local underwater wildlife, gathered through ‘citizen science’ and used to secure:
Better legal protections and management of sensitive areas of the Solent
More sustainable seafood, produced by local fisheries and available in local restaurants and shops