National Marine Week (actually a fortnight), is happening right now and is a great excuse to celebrate and raise awareness of marine wildlife in Pembrokeshire.
Pembrokeshire has more than its fair share of marine life due to its fabulous coast and varied geology that help provide a perfect home for wildlife, from grey seals to puffins and cushion stars to sea fans.
It’s home to the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation, one of the best places in Europe for marine wildlife. It is more than twice the size of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park but most of it remains out of sight. Unless you dive or snorkel, you will only get to see the fringes of this impressive area, but you can get a taster of the underwater world by visiting the seashore. When the tide retreats, especially during very low “spring” tides, strange creatures are revealed!
Animals and seaweeds on the shore are at the mercy of the waves and tides and as the tide goes out, they are exposed to the elements. This means that life is very difficult for anything living here and it has to be pretty tough and clever to survive. Some pretty ingenious solutions have evolved: The seaweed channel wrack can lose up to 95% of its water content and still survive. Anemones with a mouth-bottom can clone themselves, life can be female and male at the same time to aid reproduction, and scuba-diving insects called springtails can survive for up to two days underwater.
Many are surprised to realise that the Milford Haven Waterway is also part of the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC and has over 20 miles of sheltered navigable waters. It’s also home to the busy Port of Milford Haven. Highly regarded as the UK’s largest energy port, this is a nationally important industrial hub that balances its industrial demands alongside recreational and wildlife considerations.
The team at the Port takes environmental responsibilities very seriously. In 2020, they added Sustainability to their long-established core values of Safety, Excellence and Collaboration. It’s helping shine a spotlight on the years of great work by the team and brings new focus on ensuring they continually improve their sustainability and protect this important environment.
Sharing the wonders of this fantastic coast in collaboration with the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC is just one of the ways the Port team does this. Year 5 and 6 pupils from Broad Haven Community School were given a taster of the underwater world last Thursday, July 20 when they were taken on a snorkel safari with the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Officer, Sue Burton, and the Port of Milford Haven’s Environmental and Sustainability Assistant, Jack O’Shea, supported by Celtic Deep and Windswept Watersports.
The Wildlife Trust’s initiative National Marine Week continues until August 6. Why not join in and discover this exciting world for yourself?
- Wednesday, August 2, 12:30 – 14:00 Seashore Explore in association with Milford Beach Activity Centre - Milford Beach.
- Thursday, August 3, 13:30 – 15:00 Seashore Explore in association with Windswept and Darwin – Dale, meet by the pontoon. PCNPA Beach wheelchair available for use.
- Saturday, August 5, 15:00 – 16:30 Seashore Explore in association with the Skomer Marine Conservation Zone – Martin’s Haven.
All events are free and open to all ages (under 14s should be accompanied by an adult). Wellies or wetsuit boots are recommended.
For more information on the marine life of Pembrokeshire visit the SAC website or social media. Spotter sheets are available here to aid self-led exploration. And make use of the free Wales Coast Explorer App, a useful source of information and guidance.