2 February 2016
Hebridean Islands Cruises’ partnership with marine conservation charity Sea-Changers is now entering its fifth year of operation. Many guests have chosen to add a small donation to their booking fee, as a way of giving something back to protect the beautiful seas, shores and marine wildlife that form such a fundamental part of the experience when cruising aboard the Hebridean Princess.
The total raised now exceeds £16,000. Every penny donated goes to fund vital marine conservation projects, including: direct clean-up activities; species protection work; conservation research or education and awareness-raising. The charity’s activities have increased over the last five years as a direct result of your generosity.
Much of the money raised has been targeted to projects around the Scottish Coast, including, for example:
• A grant to the Scottish Seabird Centre to buy cameras to monitor the full breeding cycle of the grey seals situated on two islands including Isle of May National Nature Reserve which is the largest grey seal colony on the east coast, and the island of Craigleith.
• Funding for a schools project throughout Skye, Lochalsh, Knoydart, and the Small Isles, which allowed groups of pupils to learn about and experience different aspects of the marine environment through a variety of media, including hands-on science based workshops
• Development of a protected breeding site for Common Terns at Loch Craignish, in Mid Argyll on the west coast of Scotland. Prior to this, in spite of a trapping programme, American mink had predated the nesting colonies, to the extent that in 2012 only 1 pair of Common Terns was seen at the head of the loch.
• A grant to the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit (CRRU) who are undertaking vital research to inform and assist in the implementation of the first ever Marine Protected Area proposed for Minke whales in UK inshore waters (in the Moray Firth.)
• Work in and around the Garnock Valley and Irvine, to make this part of Scotland an even better place for marine wildlife – the funds included support for a community clean-up around the nearby estuary.
These are just a few of examples of activities, in part made possible by the generosity of Hebridean Island Cruises’ guests. To find out more about Sea-Changers’ work, visit http://www.sea-changers.org.uk/index.php