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 Conservation, Overfishing, Pollution
  • Over Ross House, Ross Park, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 7QQ
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
£ 1.8 million (2013)[1]
Slogan Protecting our Seas, Shores and Wildlife

The Marine Conservation Society is a UK charity for the protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, and for the protection of their shores and wildlife.[2]

According to their website MCS's Vision is:

"For seas rich in wildlife, abundant fish stocks and pollution free beaches and bathing waters – seas that are fit for wildlife to thrive in and for people to enjoy, and seas that will support future generations with abundant resources."

Their website also states:

"We champion the need for marine wildlife protection, sustainable fisheries and clean seas and beaches."

The society was first set up under the name "Underwater Conservation Society" in 1977 when it was championed by Bernard Eaton, together with leading scientists and other public figures including HRH The Prince of Wales. The society later adopted the name "Marine Conservation Society" and was registered with the Charity Commission in 1983.[3]

The Charity's main current concerns about the UK seas are:

  • Too many fish are being taken out due to much fishing[4]
  • Too much rubbish is being thrown into the seas[5]
  • Not enough protection for marine wildlife and vital fish stocks[6]

To combat these the MCS have helped introduce many Marine Acts to better protect UK seas and marine life,[7] influenced sustainable seafood choices by major retailers and consumers through the Good Fish Guide[8] to help improve dwindling fish stocks, and have also brought together thousands of volunteers in their "Beachwatch" projects to clean beaches of litter.[9]


  • 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
  • 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


External links[edit]