The sun was shining and whilst setting up our equipment alongside SWT officer Noel Hawkins, a crowd began to gather at the top of the pier and soon there was lot’s of excited little faces armed with fishing nets anxiously waiting to be let loose alongside the water. As soon as we gave the nod the jetty gate was opened and a stampede of kids alongside their mums and dads joined us on the pontoon!
On retrieving the first batch of nets we were greeted with lots of green shore crabs (a SSACN Outreach favourite), starfish and sea urchins. Round two saw us capture lots of juvenile cod, hermit crab and a large butterfish (or snake according to some of our younger participants). The animals were carefully transferred to our seawater tanks so that participants could have a clearer view and some of them had a go at holding the crabs, urchins and starfish.
One youngster in particular was desperate for us to let her have her own net in order to catch something new – and we couldn’t quite believe our eyes when she retrieved the net and returned with a beautiful Tompot blenny which many people had never seen or heard of before!
We wrapped up the activities that evening (much to the disappointment of the kids) but not before being paid a visit from one of the locals "Sammy" the seal who thoroughly enjoyed the mackerel pieces that were floating in the water from the days events!
The next day we packed up and headed North to Lochinver for the Assynt Highland games – and in true Scottish style the heavens opened and the midges made their presence known!
Thankfully the organisers put us up in a marquee which meant we could focus on chatting to the passers by about SSACN and the work we do and also providing our materials to keen sea anglers who stopped at our table! The games got busier as the day went on as the weather didn’t seem to hamper the day and the outreach team met lots of lovely people who visited our stall!
Overall, a fantastic couple of days in the highlands for the outreach team promoting the message of marine conservation and the opportunity sea angling provides for a fun, low cost family activity.
We would like to say a special thanks to our SSACN volunteer Kylie Glen for all her help over the two days as these events wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our volunteers!
If you are interested in developing a SSACN Hub in your area / community or you’d like to come along to an Outreach Event, there is more information here and you can either use the ‘Contact Us’ facility on that page or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the Team will get back to you.
More images from the Event can be seen on the Outreach Facebook page.