Ocean Symposium 2023
Living Seas Officer
The Ocean Symposium is an exciting event held in Sussex, which brings together organisations working in the field of marine conservation, and members of the public. This year it was held in Bexhill-on-Sea on Saturday 18th November. The event is organised annually by the United Nations Association, Climate and Oceans, in collaboration with Sussex Wildlife Trust and Community Supporters, and sponsored by RS Aqua.
The event featured 15 speakers and 17 stall holders from organisations and projects who are working to tackle global issues facing our oceans at the local scale. Those present were from conservation charities, community groups, through to Statutory organisations such as the Environment Agency.
The Symposium boasted an impressive line-up of speakers. Marine biologists, researchers, community group leaders, students and policy makers all took to the stage to share their expertise on current issues and work taking place in the marine and coastal space in Sussex. The event was opened by Bexhill Town Mayor, Councillor Lynn Brailsford. Nick Gray, Chair of the Sussex Marine and Coastal Forum, gave an inspiring keynote speech, emphasising the need for organisations to work together for a common goal of protecting the marine environment.
There were many calls to action during the event, calling for attendees to do their part to help their local stretch of coastline. Actions that were suggested were: joining citizen science projects such as Shoresearch and Seasearch lead by Sussex Wildlife Trust, taking part in the Sussex Kelp Recording Scheme lead by the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project, recording shark and skate eggcases with the Shark Trust and joining Strandliners on a litter survey.
In the breaks, attendees were able to visit the Marine Exhibition which was made up of stalls from organisations such as Sussex Underwater, Bexhill Environmental Group, Sussex Dolphin Project and Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA). There, attendees could find more information on how to get involved with opportunities locally and how to effect local positive change.
A recurring message from the speakers during the event highlighted the essential role of community engagement in achieving marine conservation objectives. Without active involvement and commitment from local communities, effecting positive change becomes very difficult. There was a tangible sense of optimism and hope from the audience, creating the impression that members of the public are increasingly invested in protecting marine environments, both on a local and global scale.
- Nick Gray – Environment Agency and Chair of Sussex Marine and Coastal Forum
- Robert Pearson – Chief Fisheries and Conservation Officer, Sussex IFCA
- Councillor Lynn Brailsford – Bexhill Town Mayor
- Gonzalo Alvarez – Chair, UNA Climate and Oceans
- Alisdair Naulls – Communities & Engagement Lead - Plastics, The Rivers Trust
- George Short – Kelp Recovery Coordinator, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Sussex Kelp Recovery Project
- Ian Tittley – Seaweed Specialist, Natural History Museum
- Glenn Langler – Marine Nature-based Solutions Lead, JBA Consulting, The Pevensey Bay to Eastbourne Coastal Management Scheme
- Jane Cunningham - Manhood Peninsula Partnership Project Officer, Chichester District Council
- Ryan Mowat – Director of Innovation, RS Aqua
- Paul Brewer – Director for Sustainability and Resources, Adur and Worthing Councils and Dean Spears – Head of Blue Natural Capital, Sussex Bay
- Leo Perrin – Cleaner Ocean Foundation
- Ella Garrud – Wild Coast Sussex Project Manager, Sussex Wildlife Trust
- Andy Dinsdale – Executive Director, Strandliners
- Bexhill Environmental Group
- Bexhill Maritime
- Cleaner Ocean Foundation
- Community Supporters
- Environment Agency
- Friends of Combe Valley
- Groundwork South
- KP Projects - The Living Coast Undersea Experience
- The Living Coast UNESCO World Biosphere
- RS Aqua
- Sussex Dolphin Project
- Sussex IFCA
- Sussex Underwater
- Sussex Wildlife Trust
- Sustainable Living Forum
- Wild Coast Sussex