Marine Conservation Society

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK's leading marine environment, not-for-profit organisation and has been running for 30 years. 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]

Marine Conservation Society
Marine Conservation Society (UK) Logo.jpg
Founded1983 (1983)
TypeCharitable organisation
Registration no.1004005 (England & Wales)
SC037480 (Scotland)
FocusMarine protected areas, sustainable seafood, beach and marine litter, cleaner bathing waters
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Sandy Luk (CEO)
£1.8 million (2013)[1]

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.


Wig and Pen Club in Fleet Street
  • 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 the 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
  • 2010Scottish 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

Celebrity supportEdit



  • MCS has a network of local supporters' groups. This includes the South East Group.
  • MCS involves volunteers in surveys and other projects such as Beachwatch, Seasearch, wildlife sightings, fundraising, reporting overflowing sewage pipes.
  • MCS lobbies the UK Government and the European Union.
  • MCS Cool Seas Roadshow visits hundreds of schools and sees thousands of children every year.
  • MCS Campaigns against balloon releases, plastic bags, for Marine Reserves, sustainable fisheries.

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.[12]

The MCS's Great British Beach Clean project has been shortlisted by the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards for the Conservation Success of the Year 2018.[13]

In 2018, the Marine Conservation Society has expressed concern over deaths of the creatures at a Sea Life centres. Mortality figures across eight centres in Birmingham, Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, London, Manchester, Scarborough and Weymouth included jellyfish, sharks and endangered undulate rays, which are on the “red list” of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[14]

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". Marine Conservation Society. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-17. Retrieved 2017-09-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Coast award for Marine Conservation Society's Beachwatch project". Fish News EU. Archived from the original on April 23, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  13. ^ "BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018: Conservation Success of the Year". Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  14. ^ Scotter, Julian Sturdy and Kate (2018-03-08). "Sea Life centre sees 35% of animals die". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-27.

External linksEdit