Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has been awarded a £640,300 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to deliver an exciting programme called ‘Secrets of the Solent’.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will help to protect the Solent’s important natural marine heritage.
The Solent is one of the liveliest straits in the UK, supporting important industries, fisheries and leisure businesses. Thousands live and work alongside the Solent 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.
Local seas are, however, under real pressure from plastics, pollution and damaging activities and marine wildlife has declined rapidly in recent years.
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust will work with a wide range of local organisations and a large team of volunteers, to make sure that more people appreciate, understand and support the Solent. The Wildlife Trust hopes this will lead to:
- Less pollution and plastic litter in our seas
- More information about the local under-water wildlife, gathered through ‘citizen science’ and used to secure
- Better legal protections and management of sensitive areas of the Solent
- 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 said:
“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 others 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 said:
“This award is fantastic news for Hampshire WWT, 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.”