An extremely damp May brought misgivings about the success of open air
events for World Oceans Day
2000. Luckily, for most of the country, Saturday 3rd June (the weekend of the low spring tides preceding the
official World Oceans Day on 8th June) was spared the thunderstorms, and on the south coast we even got a
welcome array of sunshine.
World Oceans Day is an international event first declared as 8th June at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro
in 1992. However, in the U.K., there is no group assigned to organise the publicity for this year. The DETR
have notified the local authorities that this is one of the dates on the list, but with few exceptions in coastal
towns, the initiative was not picked up.
This lack of leadership on the part of the government actually conferred quite a lot of benefits as far
individual initiatives were concerned. Because, it was an international concept agreed by most nations of the
world, and international wildlife and conservation groups, it was not the province of a single org-anisation,
which may or may not be supported by participants, (e.g. some people who may wish to contribute to World
Oceans Day may actually be put off if one individual organisation was in charge, especially if the group had
a reputation for campaigning on issues the participants did not agree with).
World Oceans Day offers the opportunity for people in many parts of Britain and
around the world to increase their understanding of the marine environ-ment and
wildlife of the oceans.
This from everybody who participated this year, from Cornwall to the Shetlands, interpreted as education
about the oceans, the wildlife, biodiversity, and possibly (although this was not stressed) about the various
threats the oceans faced from manís activities. The alternative would be fund raising events for campaigning
organisations for vested interests in the marine environment, which is not education as I understand it.
Adur World Oceans Day
Adur World Oceans Day was held in Shoreham-by-Sea (see the last issue of Shorewatch) and concentrated
on providing straightforward exhibits on the wildlife of the sea. These included live lobsters and crabs,
native marine aquaria, seashell touch tables, interactive activities of various kinds where children could learn
about dolphins and other marine creatures.
One of the most satisfactory aspect was that the public had a focus point to ask about the animals they found
on the shore, e.g. Heart Urchins, Pipefish, remains of the Spiny Spider Crab etc. (it always adds interest if
you can a name to a plant or animal). I was pleased about the quality of the exhibits that included water
colour paintings, stuffed gulls, and cuttlebones of exclusively Sepia officinalis (see page 8). Of the dozen or
so exhibitions the BMLSS has participated in, this was the one that the public, especially the youngsters,
seemed most intrigued and satisfied with.
Events occurred all around Britain, a few in Cornwall specially arranged to celebrate World Oceans Day. All
events except Flamborough in Yorkshire enjoyed fine weather. They had a torrential downpour, that was
promised for the south coast, and we avoided the worst as the day went on from every cloud that blotted out
the sunshine. In Cornwall where the low spring tides on the weekend of 3-4 June 2000 occur around midday,
the rock pool rambles or seaside safaris proved the best introduction to the marine world for inquisitive
Details of the various events can be found on the World Oceans Day web page at: