Friday, 18 September 2009

Irish Sea Advocacy Officer

Sea heart urchin, Echinocardium cordatum. Photo: Wikipedia

The three wildlife trusts of the North West have recently employed an Irish Sea Marine Advocacy Officer, Dr Kathryn Turner. Kathryn says "I have ten years experience as a marine biologist. I ran and am still, the Director of the Fylde Coast Marine Life Project. I have also been a freshwater biologist for the last 15 years and my PhD was on the impacts of invaders on wetland/aquatic systems in the UK. I have taught biology at university level, for children's and adults groups and have a great enthusiasm for our local North West species, who needs tigers when we have octopi and cuttlefish on our doorsteps!

The role of Irish Sea Advocacy Officer is three fold: Firstly to bring together local knowledge about the Irish Sea. This includes talking with our local sea users, making contacts with local authorities, NGO's and other interest groups, locals and businesses and sharing information about what we have and how it’s used.

Secondly, maximising the local wildlife trusts marine expertise and ability to protect marine species and habitats, this by making the best possible use of our current biodiversity work and legislation and by adding marine species to education, campaigning and local training.

Thirdly, as the Marine Bill progresses ensuring that our local highly diverse marine hotspots are highlighted and go forward as marine protected areas and gain the maximum protection possible from the Bill.

I look forward to meeting and working with as many local groups as possible and in providing better protection and knowledge of our fragile marine habitats and species."

Kathryn produces an 'Irish Sea Species of the Month' email which contains fascinating information on marine species. This month it's an echinoderm, the Sea Heart Urchin. Recently thousands have been washed up on Wirral and south Blackpool beaches. If you would like to receive these monthly updates, email Kathryn and ask to be put on her distribution list.

If you, or anyone you know, can help Kathryn in her role, please email her.

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