Beneath the waves of the North Sea lies a magical marine kingdom arguably just as colourful, fascinating and beautiful as that found anywhere else in the world.
The diverse landscape of the Northumberland coastline, both above and below the waves, provides a multitude of habitats for a large variety of marine life.
But Northumberland Wildlife Trust is warning that issues with pollution, sustainable fishing, climate change impacts and invasive species are threatening the county’s native marine wildlife.
As such it has launched its 2014 Living Seas Marine Appeal, in an attempt to protect this exceptional landscape for current and future generations to enjoy.
The trust is asking residents to donate to the appeal, which aims to safeguard the native wildlife off the county’s coast.
Aurelie Bohan, Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s newly appointed marine officer, said: “Just how lucky are we to live with all this on our doorstep - the North Sea is amazing. If we change the way we do things we can help it to recover and ensure that our marine wildlife thrives so that future generations can enjoy our marine heritage.”
The entire coastline of Northumberland is protected in some way due to its contribution to nationally and internationally important marine ecosystems.
The stretch from Alnmouth up to Fast Castle Head in Berwickshire is designated as a Special Area of Conservation. This protects some of the most outstanding marine habitats and species in Europe, including intertidal and subtidal rocky reefs, sea caves, intertidal sand and mud flats, large inlets and bays, and the charismatic grey seal.
Cash raised through the appeal will help the wildlife charity continue its funding of a specialist marine officer to engage communities and industries in the protection of local marine life, as well as supporting the purchase of specialist equipment to train volunteers in species identification and the funding of beach clean-up days.
The trust recently supported Newcastle University’s Big Sea Survey, which provided robust information about the state of the local coastline.
You can donate to the 2014 Living Seas Marine Appeal online at www.nwt.org.uk/donate; by post - send a cheque to Freepost NT89, Garden House, St Nicholas Park, Newcastle, NE3 3XT; by telephone on 0191 2846884; or text SEAS15 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.