Wild Planet Trust

Saving marine life in Tor Bay

Posted: 10th February, 2023

Wild Planet Trust has hosted the first of what is set to be a series of events designed to bring together marine organisations, volunteers and charities based in South Devon. The event took place on Saturday 4th February and included presentations from Wild Planet Trust, Operation Cetacean and Ocean Conservation Trust, who gave an update on recent progress and developments of their marine protection projects.

Currently, there are a number of independent conservation projects ongoing in Tor Bay, and Wild Planet Trust saw an opportunity to bring together the organisations leading them to encourage future collaboration and improve awareness within the wider community.

Wild Planet Trust, the conservation and research charity that owns both Paignton Zoo and Newquay Zoo, were delighted to welcome 60 attendees. They believe that together they can be a stronger force to protect Tor Bay, including its seagrass and the many animals that the habitat supports.

Dr Tracey Hamston, who has worked on Wild Planet Trust’s Save Our Seagrass project for a number of years, opened the event with a talk focused on the installation of three mooring buoys in Fishcombe Cove and the positive impacts they have had on restoring the seagrass meadows. Other speakers included Operation Cetacean, a branch of Conservation Chat UK, who study the population of porpoises around Berry Head; and the Cove Discovery Project who have been sharing video-recordings of their dives at Fishcombe Cove to highlight its beauty. Mark Parry from Ocean Conservation Trust also spoke about their current project entitled ‘Blue Meadows’, which is designed to restore seagrass and improve community awareness about it.  

During the event attendees had a chance to network and view exhibition stands showcasing numerous local projects, such as Torbay Council’s Cleaner Coasts Initiative and Prospect Brixham’s data sharing programme. Mike Puleston, co-chair for Shores of South Devon said: “The UK’s oceans have some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet and we feel by highlighting what’s out there, how wonderful and how magical it is, then people are more inclined to show an interest in protecting it.”

The event was organised by Wild Planet Trust’s Community Projects Officer Megan Ross, who oversees the Save Our Seagrass project. Megan was thrilled at how successful the event had been: “We had a great turn out. Lots of great speakers and great questions from the audience, which is always a good sign that people are engaged. We will definitely be planning more events like this, so watch this space.”

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