Take a pledge for our seas
The coasts and seas of our region are teeming with wonderful wildlife and valuable habitats, but we need your help to keep them that way. Our daily lives have an enormous impact on our seas - most of the pollution found there originates on land, and the ways in which we use the water can harm marine species and habitats. This means we all have the power to make a difference if we work together.
Think you can't do much to support our marine environment? Think again! By taking one of the Wilder Solent pledges below, you'll be doing your part to care for the precious underwater world on our doorstep. While the actions are simple, they all help build a bright future for our marine life. Once you get going, be sure to share your story with others so they can also get inspired to make a change.
At home or work
Our daily lives can have a surprisingly big effect on the marine environment. Luckily there are lots of easy ways to reduce your impact.
Pledge to clean green
Cleaning our homes helps to keep us healthy, but the products we use to do it are a cause of marine pollution. Chemicals can spread into groundwater through leaking waste pipes, while rubbish put down plumbing instead of in the bin can block sewers, causing untreated sewage to be discharged into the sea.
Ideas to try:
- Switch standard household cleaning products, which often contain toxic ingredients like chlorine bleach and ammonia, for kinder alternatives. No brand is perfect, but popular choices like Method, Ecover, and Bio-D are still an improvement.
- Swap standard plastic sponges and scourers, which gradually break down into microplastics and can't be recycled, for alternatives made from natural materials or upcycled cloth.
- Dispose of household waste using rubbish and recycling bins, instead of flushing it down sinks and toilets. Southern Water provide guidance on 'unflushables' like cooking oil, wet wipes, and cotton buds.
Pledge to serve seafood
Seafood can be a healthy and delicious source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, but some fishing methods have a negative impact on habitats and wildlife. Much of the seafood caught in our waters is also shipped abroad due to a lack of local demand.
Supporting suppliers who are using more sustainable fishing methods, or championing such produce, is a great way to tackle these issues. Many fisherman, shops, and restaurants in our area want to move in this direction, and local demand would help to make doing so economically viable.
Our Great Solent Seafood campaign is designed to help you make more sustainable choices when it comes to seafood check it out for recommended species, suppliers, and recipes to try.
Pledge to tackle plastic
Plastic litter in our marine environment has made the news a lot lately, and with good reason. Many plastic items still cannot be recycled, and after entering the sea often remain there for decades. Animals can eat or become tangled in larger pieces, while the full impact of microplastics remains unknown.
Ideas to try:
- Buy loose fruit and vegetables instead of ones in plastic packaging, where possible. Cloth drawstring produce bags are now affordable, widely available, and accepted in most supermarkets.
- Check to see if your local shop has deli counters, and if they allow you to bring your own containers. Many supermarkets will now put meat, fish, cheese and other products in clean tupperware that can be sealed.
- Take a packed lunch instead of buying one in plastic packaging. This can be a cheaper and healthier option in addition to being kinder on the environment. Make your lunches in bulk and invest in a sturdy lunchbox to reduce hassle.
On the shore
There's nothing quite like being out on the coast, and a trip out is a great opportunity to care for our marine wildlife.
Pledge to pick up litter
Tackling our own single-use plastic habits is vital to reducing the rubbish on our coastlines, but there is already a lot of this long-lived material in our seas. So it's no surprise that beach cleaning has become hugely popular as an easy way to stop wildlife from eating or becoming tangled in plastic marine litter.
Ideas to try:
- Join an organised beach clean to meet new people and learn the ropes. TheMarine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage both run beach cleans in our area throughout the year.
- Organise your own beach clean to get more people on board. In addition to running their own, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage also provide lots of great advice to get you started.
- Go solo and do a beach clean at a time and location that suits you. 2 Minute Beach Clean has good safety information and an app for when you're on the move.
Pledge to reduce disturbance
Exploring the coast is a brilliant way to learn about the marine environment, but some species and habitats are sensitive to our presence. Disturbing animals can cause them to become stressed and use up valuable energy, while altering their habitats can force them to find a new home.
Ideas to try:
- Admire any animals you find from a distance, rather than handling them. Soft-bodied species like sea anemones are easily harmed by poking or squeezing, while rock-dwelling species like limpets can be damaged if you remove them.
- Replace any rocks exactly as you find them. Many fascinating species hide underneath stones and boulders, but put everything back once you've had a look to allow these animals to continue living there.
- Be mindful of our feathered friends on the shore, especially during the winter months. If birds are startled they use up the energy they need for migration - Bird Aware Solent offer great advice on how to avoid this.
Pledge to watch for wildlife
When it comes to protecting wildlife, data is one of our most powerful tools. Our species monitoring has helped to secure Marine Conservation Zones, stop harmful development, and implement legal protections. Most of our data is collected by citizen scientists who come from all walks of life.
Ideas to try:
- Report your marine mammal sightings to us. We collect data on whales, dolphins, and porpoises in our waters - remember to note down your location and take a photo or video if you can.
- Report your seagrass bed sightings to us. We monitor the health of seagrass in our area, which provides habitat for many vulnerable species - if you see a bed in our waters tell us the location and approximate size.
- Take part in other wildlife watching initiatives. There are many amazing organisations nationwide that are monitoring the populations of different species and need your help to do it.
On the water
Taking to the waves gives you the chance to see some of our more elusive species and help look after them at the same time.
Pledge to be an anchoring ace
Sailing is hugely popular across our region, and for many is a way to connect with our marine environment. But it's important to be careful with how and where you anchor, as dragging can damage the seabed and disturb the species living there. Seagrass beds, which are hugely valuable wildlife habitats and carbon sinks, are particularly sensitive. The Royal Yachting Association has great advice on how to anchor and moor responsibly.
Pledge to be fish friendly
Angling is a favourite pastime for many local people, and can be a good chance to see marine species up close. However, if not done responsibly it can contribute to falling stocks and harm to animals, including ones not being fished for. With a few simple choices this sport can be enjoyed with minimal impact on our wildlife.
Ideas to try:
- If you're digging for bait, check for any restrictions from local or harbour authorities as some areas are off-limits to protect important species. Remember to fill in any holes you make to reduce your impact on the habitat.
- If you're releasing your catch, use gear and techniques that limit the damage when they're removed - check British Sea Fishing for advice. Keep a close eye on your kit to avoid it becoming 'ghost gear' that can entangle wildlife.
- If you're keeping your catch, check the minimum landing sizes in our area. Removing juveniles before they've had a chance to breed can reduce the ability of a population to sustain itself.
Pledge to be a spotless sailor
Our region is full of passionate sailors, many of whom appreciate the chance to get closer to nature. But sailing is not without its problems, as antifoul, sewage, fuel, and litter from boats can all be hugely harmful to the marine environment. The Green Blue has lots of guidance on tackling these issues so you enjoy being out at sea while also caring for our wildlife.