Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Congratulations Betty!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

We are very pleased to report that Betty Green, a long time supporter of the group, has been awarded the The Wildlife Trusts’ Marsh Volunteer Award in recognition of her outstanding and demonstrable contributions to marine conservation. I cannot think of a person more deserving of this award!
Further details: Volunteer marine conservationist wins prestigious award

Sponging a living

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Micrograph of the bryozoan Flustra

The Bay is home to a vast army of locals, who have survived and adapted to a landscape that appears at first glance to be empty… At our talks on the 10th February we investigated the most overlooked creatures of the Bay. The couch-potatoes. These are animals that, having found a place suitable to put down roots, have stopped there for the rest of their lives. They rely on the tides of the Bay to bring food to their waiting mouths.

The ecosystem of the Bay is driven by phytoplankton blooms, which are at their most extensive in Spring and Autumn. For the rest of the year plant life is comparatively scarce. In this environment our ‘couch potatoes’ play a vital role; every bacterium, every gram of poop, anything that can be recycled is brought back into the food chain. Despite their sedentary nature, these filter feeders are an essential part of life in the Bay.

This intensive re-use of all things organic has, unfortunately, an unexpected side effect. Organic toxins, such as PCBs (banned in the seventies) are held within the marine food web, and are responsible even today for the deaths of top marine predators, such as dolphins and killer whales (See for example: BBC report by Rebecca Morelle).

This sobering fact leads us some way towards our last talk of the Winter series in the Gregson – ‘Human Impact on the Bay’ on Wednesday 9th March. At this meeting we will look at a couple of the ways we impact the life of the Bay, through Fisheries and litter.

More information: Human impact on the bay PDF 77kB

Roa Shore Walk 1st August

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

I will be trying to be there for 6pm at the latest. Weather forecast is fine, but the temperature is not that thrilling for August so bring plenty of layers (at least one more than you think you will need!) as the shore is exposed to whatever wind is blowing at the time. The shore here can be muddy in places so bring clothes and footwear that you don’t mind getting mucky.

I’m looking forward to seeing the shore here for the first time since the swim last year. You may be surprised at what can be seen.


Morecambe Bay Kite Festival

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Kathy manning the stand at the Kite Festival.

The MCS had a stall at the Catch The Wind Kite Festival in Morecambe for the first time this year. The event had good weather, and there were a lot of people passing through, listening to music, or admiring the kites. We had quite a few people drop in on the stall, and I was pleased to see that many of the kites were marine themed, including an octopus and a pair of blue whales!

We are very grateful to the event organisers MoreMusic for providing us with space at this event, and to Kathy for enthusiastically manning our stand!

Red herring pennants flying at Kite Festival 2015

Above: Red (green and blue) herrings flying above the promenade at Morecambe during the kite festival, June 2015.

Swimming success!

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Roa Island Charity Swim 2014

Above: A photo taken at the Roa Island Yacht club just before the swim on the 21st September 2014 (click for larger version).

On the 17th August we were unable to swim due to bad weather (see post), and we were worried when we arrived on the 21st that we would be unable to get away because of building work on the jetty, which meant that our intended access to the beach was blocked! Thankfully Roa Island Boating Club came to our rescue, allowing us to set off from their slip. One of our swimmers also started from the yacht club, extending the swim to just short of two miles, the others took a lift on the support boats and left as intended from close to the Lifeboat slip, and everyone made it to the Piel Island slipway without mishap.

Unlike our attempt in August, the weather was perfect, warm, with clear skies and almost mirror flat water. The visibility was also excellent – we could see the bottom without being able to reach touch it from the surface! A very pleasant day out for everyone, and a big thank you again to boat crews who patiently looked after the swimmers!

We have currently raised £182 for National MCS – and you can still sponsor us through our ‘JustGiving site:

Sponsored swim postponed

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Due to bad weather over the weekend (with wind speeds gusting to over 50KPH), we were obliged to cancel our swim across the Piel channel, we are hoping to re-schedule this for the weekend of the 20th September.

If you would like to sponsor this event (proceeds to National MCS), please visit our ‘JustGiving’ site:

Death of Ron Crosby

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Photo of Ron Crosby.

Photo of Ron Crosby on the summit of Ben Nevis in 2006 during the 3-Peaks challenge, a fund raising event for National MCS.

We are sorry to announce that Ron Crosby, a  founder member of the Marine Conservation Society, and Chairman of the Lancashire Area Group for many years, passed away on Sunday evening (23rd June 2013) after a short illness.

He was a driving force behind the group for some years, and we will miss his enthusiasm, knowledge and unrivaled experience of diving in the UK. He was also active in a number of globally significant marine wildlife conservation projects, particularly that in the Chagos Islands.

Our thoughts are with his wife Rita, also a staunch supporter of the group, and his family.

Calendar for 2013-14

Monday, June 17th, 2013

We’ve got our new calendar online, covering September 2013 through to April 2014. As yet the Roa island dives are not in the calendar, but the first possibility is for Wednesday 19th June, meeting at about 19:30 BST. The weather is looking a little iffy for this with wind swinging round to the NW for Wednesday. Well get other dates online asap.

We have a possible trip to Lochaline in May 2014. This trip is usually for five nights with a mix of divers and non-divers, but to run this we really need 10 people (sleeping 2 or 4 to a room), and to get a good date we’ll need to book soon, so if you are interested please contact Barry!

MCS diary for 2013-14

Beachclean June 2013

Also, a big thank you to everyone who came along on Sunday for the beach clean and litter survey! Data is being processed, and hopefully we’ll get a short report on that in the next meeting.

Roa Island shore walk, July 2012

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

A warm sunny evening and a low spring tide, the perfect conditions for exploring the shore.  The venue, Roa Island with it’s boulder and muddy beach and a couple of man made structures providing addtional habitat types.  The top of the beach is composed mainly of  large boulders with barnacles, wracks and large patches of blue mussels.  On the middle of the shore,  shore crabs, edible periwinkles, and dog whelks with thousands of eggs were all very common and here three or four European oysters were recorded.  The underside of the jetty provides homes for clumps of mussels, sea squirts, hermit crabs and at the seaward end of the jetty a couple of  European cowries were spotted. Moving further down the shore and searching beneath the boulders revealed both broad and long clawed porcelain crabs, chitons and we were suprised to find common brittle stars, an animal no where near as common in the channel as it was some years ago.  Other inhabitants of this lower part of the shore were grey top shells, butterfish, common stars and colourful patches of both green and orange sponge.  In the shallow pools left by the tide  the tubes of  peacock worms stood upwards from the mud and tiny anemones were to be seen amongst the stones.  As the tide reached it’s lowest point we were able to see peacock worms with extended tentacles collecting food passing by in the water.  We had spent a couple of very enjoyable hours  recording and photographing in excess of thirty different species of plant and animal on this very small area of shore.  Many thanks to Lewis for organising the event. 


Piel Channel dive

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Weather conditions for the site had been perfect for more than a week, so we travelled to Roa Island on Sunday 1st. April with high expectations of having a good interesting dive. Looking down on the water from the lifeboat gantry the conditions looked OK, so we kitted up and took the plunge.  Much to our surprise after we had covered only a few metres from the shore  the underwater visibility was no more than half a metre. It was quite light but there was very fine silt suspended in the water. As we progressed deeper it became more and more gloomy. At the deepest point (10.7m) in the middle of the channel it was completely dark and impossible to see anything. We swam slowly back up the slope to into shallower water, about (5m deep). here the bright sun penetrated the silty water a little more and the diverse marine life that we are used to seeing in the channel came into view. In the very small field of vision there were numerous species of crab, tiny anemones, sponges, common whelks, mussels and a small number of the  beautiful hydroid, Tubularia indivisa with tentacles extended. On returning to shore we  discovered that dredging operations were being carried out in the Channel and had been for a number of days.  This was the reason for the poor visibility and our far less than perfect dive. It was though the first of April !