Wightlink has teamed up with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to educate customers about the amazing marine life of the Solent through entertaining interactive presentations onboard ferries.

The Trust has been awarded a £640,300 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant through the National Lottery to deliver a new programme called ‘Secrets of the Solent’. It will include lively sessions held on board Wightlink ferries by enthusiastic volunteers.

The Solent supports important industries, fisheries and leisure businesses. Thousands live and work along the coast and many more visit every year, yet very few are aware of the incredible, hidden life under the surface, including beautiful seagrass meadows, seahorses and cuttlefish.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “We are delighted to join forces with the Wildlife Trust to introduce our customers to the wonders of life beneath the waves. We carry millions of Islanders and holidaymakers every year and know they love the natural beauty of the Solent and will value this opportunity to learn more about its marine life.”

Wightlink has already launched a Green Manifesto, pledging to make its operations as environmentally friendly as possible. In summer 2018 the company will welcome its new hybrid energy flagship Victoria of Wight – the culmination of its £45million investment in the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route. The first initiatives include chargers for electric cars at Fishbourne, reducing the use of plastics whenever possible and 25p discounts for people using reusable cups or mugs at all Wightlink outlets.

Through ‘Secrets of the Solent’, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust wants to make sure that more people appreciate, understand and support the Solent and the campaign results in:

  • Less pollution and plastic litter in our seas
  • More information about the local underwater wildlife, gathered through ‘citizen science’ and used to secure better legal protections and management of sensitive areas of the Solent as wel as more sustainable seafood, produced by local fisheries and available in local restaurants and shops

Tim Ferrero, Marine Policy Specialist at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust says:

“We are grateful for Wightlink’s support to help us spread the word about the Solent’s marine heritage.

“Many people think our local seas are devoid of life, but that’s so far from the truth. There are some incredible and precious underwater landscapes just off our coast – seagrass meadows, chalk reefs and rocky sponge gardens, which are home to sea bass, seals, colourful anemones, sea squirts and cuttlefish.

“But sadly we have reached a tipping point and, without action, the Solent could lose all its fantastic natural treasures. We know, if we are going to turn the tide and improve the Solent’s fortunes, we need people to appreciate what’s at stake and take action to care for the sea. So we are delighted to have received this award, thanks to National Lottery players and are excited to work with Wightlink and our other partners to ensure that the Solent is something we can continue to love and be proud of for generations to come”

Michelle Roffe, Head of HLF South East adds: “This award is fantastic news for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and could not be more timely. With films such as Plastic Ocean, and the recent Blue Planet II, public awareness of plastic pollution to our seas and waterways has never been higher. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, the people of the Solent will be able to learn about and take an active role in this vital work to protect their local seas and under water wildlife for future generations.”

Pictured: Wightlink Chief Officer Toby Hughes, Tim Ferrero from H&IoWWT and Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield with a cuttlefish model and cuttlebones

For more information, contact Karen Woods on 07775 694266 or karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk.


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