2018 Year of Our Island is a celebration of our Island as a special place to live and work and, in June, events and activities will be focused on celebrating our seas and shores.
The Isle of Man is blessed with some of the best coastal scenery and wildlife in the British Isles.
The UNESCO Biosphere designation acknowledges the way in which the Island's people are an integral part of the marine environment, with significant parts of our recreation, economy and activity taking place at the coast or at sea.
However, this close association also means that we must remain aware and connected, ensuring that we maintain good stewardship of our territorial sea.
Remember: our sea represents 87% of Manx territory.
DEFA and its partners work to ensure our fisheries remain sustainable. In April, the annual scallop survey was conducted in the fisheries management zone of Ramsey Marine Nature Reserve, with marine scientists, the Manx Fish Producers' Organisation and fishermen working together to plan for the annual fishery in December.
Similarly, Bangor University has just completed the Island-wide scallop surveys which inform the wider fisheries management for 2018. Work is also underway to designate our new Marine Nature Reserves, which will complement the commercial fishing grounds to maintain the stocks while also protecting important marine biodiversity and recreational activities in the inshore area.
Year of Our Island is all about encouraging us to explore more, do more and share more and June is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our fantastic coastal areas.
We are working hard to bring a wide range of activities for our community to join in with and learn from. To get involved or find out more visit www.ourisland.im and to keep up date follow @ourisland.im #ourisland2018
'Exploring our seas'
Talk and explore evenings are being arranged that invite our community to discover what lays beneath the waves whilst staying dry. The events will be hosted by our local experts and films will be shown on topics as wide ranging as Manx basking sharks, our local efforts to promote sustainable fishing and an 'underwater tour of the Island' – showcasing scientific research and biodiversity via modern HD video.
These evenings will be held in venues around the Island. Look out for the advertisements on ourisland.im, social media or on www.biosphere.im
Government is publishing a series of downloadable, self-guided coastal walks/kayaks/snorkels, based on the popular Warden's Walks series. These short 'Blue Ways' guides will provide information on some special coastal trails along with some points of interest, activities and facilities along the way. These will be available on www.gov.im website in June.
As usual, the Manx Wildlife Trust will be active in June with special events such as rock pooling, marine plastics awareness activities and other family-friendly adventures. Check out their website at http://www.manxwt.org.uk/whats-on
Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch will also be holding events in June to highlight the larger marine mammals that can be seen around our coast. Look out for the 'Dinner with a Dolphin' events on their website https://www.mwdw.net/events/2018-06/
Beaches are always popular in the warmer months, but our experience can be spoiled by marine litter. So as well as taking care of your own bits and pieces, why not join Beach Buddies https://www.beachbuddies.net for an hour or so of beach cleaning - good for us and good for wildlife.
The marine theme continues into the summer with the Port Erin Festival of the Sea on the 21-2nd July, featuring the ever-popular Manx Wildife Trust touch tanks.
There should also be some really important news for Manx marine conservation in July – so watch this space, and help Year of Our Island and us to celebrate a great summer of seas and shores.