Everyone loves the sea, and nobody appreciates it more than divers do. But our dive sites, and the seas around us, are under threat from the pollution of sewage, litter, chemicals and other waste – plus overfishing and damage to habitats.The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is a United Kingdom charity dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its wildlife. Many divers will already be familiar with MCS through meeting members on dive trips, taking part in beachcleans and surveys, or reading books and reports published by MCS. Most divers will have a good word for MCS, but not everyone realizes what exactly the society is.
MCS started life as the Underwater Conservation Society, founded following Underwater Conservation Year in 1977. A group of divers, including David Bellamy, Bernard Eaton and several others, realized that nothing was being done to find out the effects of human activities below the low water mark. It soon became obvious that dive sites were being affected by pollution (we’re all now familiar with "creatures" from the sewer pipe), over-fishing and, in some cases, even divers themselves. It was decided that an organization dedicated to the cause was needed, to protect dive sites and the marine environment as a whole…thus MCS was born.
MCS campaigns for sewage-free seas, beaches free of litter, site protection and sensitive management of our coast and sea – and much more. Over the last few decades, MCS has highlighted many issues of concern, from litter and coral reef destruction to hormone-altering chemicals and overfishing. Past successes range from achieving a ban on TBT paints, influencing international and United Kingdom government policy on basking shark protection, and the disposal of wastes at sea. Into the future, MCS will continue to uncover threats to both marine wildlife and to the wider marine and coastal environment, and bring them to the attention of the public, media, politicians and industries alike.
MCS has several programs of volunteer dive projects such as the Seasearch Marine Life Surveys, Adopt-a-Beach and underwater clean-ups. MCS also runs survey training and identification courses for divers, in addition to other conservation projects. Much of the Marine Conservation Society’s success is achieved through volunteers and everyone is welcome to get involved, whether divers or non-divers.
As a member of the Marine Conservation Society your efforts will support the vital campaign for cleaner seas. In return, MCS will keep you in touch with its work and informed of the state of our seas and marine wildlife, plus give you the opportunity to get involved and make a real difference to the future of our seas.