Marine Conservation Society

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Marine Conservation Society
Founded 1983 (1983)
Type Charitable organisation
Registration no. England and Wales: 1004005 Scotland: SC037480
Focus Marine Protected Areas,, Sustainable Seafood, Beach and marine litter, cleaner bathing waters
  • Over Ross House, Ross Park, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 7QQ
Area served
United Kingdom and some overseas work
Key people
[Sam Fanshawe - CEO]]
£ 1.8 million (2013)[1]
Slogan Protecting our Seas, Shores and Wildlife

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK's leading marine charity. It works for the increased protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, via the creation of well managed marine protected areas. It works with fishermen and industry to find more sustainable ways of fishing and with retailers and consumers to buy and choose more sustainable seafood. It involves volunteers to carry out hundreds of beach cleans and surveys annually whilst also working with water companies and local communities to ensure UK bathing waters are of an excellent standard.[2]

MCS runs a number of high-profile campaigns including:

Beachwatch[3] - the largest volunteer beach cleaning and litter survey in the UK. It includes the annual Great British Beach Clean which takes place every third weekend in September.

Don't Let Go[4] - a campaign to stop the indiscriminate release of balloons and sky lanterns which end up on our beaches and in the sea and can lead to death of marine creatures.

Scrub it Out [5]- with partners Fauna and Flora International[6] it aims to get manufacturers and retailers to stop making and selling personal care products which contain microbeads.

Protecting UK seas[7] - working to establish a network of marine protected areas around the UK and ensuring they are well managed once created.

Good Fish Guide - the guide (online, smartphone app and pocket paper version) includes the MCS Fish to Eat and Fish to Avoid lists and advice on choosing the most sustainable fish - it is widely used by the public and industry.

MCS[8] is a membership organisation and relies on income from members, individual donations and corporate support.

MCS runs a successful volunteer outreach programme called Sea Champions [9] These volunteers work on the ground to promote all MCS projects, programmes and campaigns.


  • 1975 - Bernard Eaton (editor of Diver magazine) proposed an "Underwater Conservation Year" with the help of such key figures as David Bellamy. The first meeting was held in the Wig and Pen Club in Fleet Street.
  • 1977 - The first "Conservation Year" with HRH Prince of Wales as President. Hundreds of divers surveyed marine habitats.
  • 1978 - The "Underwater Conservation Society" was established in Ross-on-Wye on the success of the "Conservation Year". Bob Earl was the new UCS Project Co-ordinator.
  • 1983 – Name changed to Marine Conservation Society and registered with the Charity Commission
  • 1986 - MCS start "Seasearch" with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee
  • 1987 - Published Golden List of Clean Beaches - now called the Good Beach Guide
  • 1988 - Ross-on-Wye office burns down.
  • 1993 – First Beachwatch weekend
  • 1998 – MCS wins protection for Basking sharks
  • 1999 - MCS starts lobbying for a review of marine nature conservation in UK
  • 1999 - MCS members magazine is first printed in colour
  • 2000 - Office opened in Scotland
  • 2001 - Launches Adopt-a-turtle scheme
  • 2007 - MCS staff and supporters march on Parliament calling for a strong Marine Bill
  • 2008 - MCS celebrates Silver Jubilee
  • 2009 - Marine Act passed
  • 2009 - Your Seas Your Voice Campaign launched
  • 2010 - Scottish Marine Act passed
  • 2011 - MCS' sustainable seafood advice was the cornerstone of Channel 4 Big Fish Fight series led by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
  • 2012 - Launches Sea Champions - national volunteer programme offering environmental volunteer opportunities in the UK
  • 2013 - MCS led 2,000 people in a march on Parliament to demand marine conservation zones


The Society won a coveted "Coast Award 2011". It achieved the award of "Best Green Marine Campaign" for its Beachwatch project, the marine litter survey and its clean-ups held at beaches all around the UK.[10]

Registered charity no. (England and Wales) 1004005, Registered charity no. (Scotland) SCO37480


  1. ^ "Marine Conservation Society: Annual Review 2012/13". 
  2. ^ "The UK charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife". Retrieved December 30, 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ "Beachwatch". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  4. ^ "Don't Let Go - balloons and sky lanterns | Marine Conservation Society". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  5. ^ "Microplastics - scrub it out | Marine Conservation Society". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  6. ^ "Fauna & Flora International". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  7. ^ "MPA | Marine Conservation Society". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  8. ^ "Join Donate Adopt | Marine Conservation Society". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  9. ^ "Seachampions | Marine Conservation Society". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  10. ^ "Coast award for Marine Conservation Society's Beachwatch project". Retrieved December 30, 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)

External links[edit]