A showbiz shark snorkel

Stacey Solomon is a shark supporter

There are moments when I heart my job.

When asked by my good friend, Sam, editor of Sea Urchins magazine, whether I’d like to jump in The London Aquarium’s shark tank with a smattering of celebs, I thought what a smashing way to spend a weekday morning.

It was incredible being so close to these awe-inspiring creatures. They create a stillness when you simply sit and watch.

Here’s my report of the unusual and brilliant experience in full, as published on Sky Living Daily:

It’s not your average assignment, but when we were asked to jump in a shark tank with The Love Machine host Stacey Solomon, former Britain & Ireland’s Next Model contestant Imogen Leaver and presenter Jeff Brazier, jump we did.

Our little Sky Living family (and new recruit Jeff) visited The London Aquarium yesterday for a feature shoot with kids’ magazine Sea Urchins.

But Stacey wasn’t anxious about being surrounded by seas’ most majestic killers one bit – in fact, she couldn’t get in that wetsuit fast enough for a gander at the big fish.

It was a different story for Jeff, who nervously waited in his neoprene get-up.

But after a few dunks underwater, masks on, the gang were grinning like kiddies. We huddled together, only separated from the sharp-toothed creatures by mesh, and had a whale of a time.

Come on, you’ve got to allow us one fishy joke.

We spotted sand tiger sharks, blacktip reef sharks, nurse sharks and a shoal of shiny, inquisitive batfish – and kept our fingers well away from all of them.

Celebrity Fish Fact #269: Stacey’s favourite species in the tank was a bowmouth guitarfish. There you go.

Issue 2 of Sea Urchins is available from the iStore now – Stacey and the gang’s shark tale will feature in the next issue.

By Karli Drinkwater.

Reviewed: Feng Sushi Restaurant

Cornish Sardines

As regular TAGG readers will know, I’m a firm believer in sustainable fish and will only choose fish that’s been responsibly sourced – and resolutely avoid any species of fish that’s critically endangered, such as blue fin tuna.

I actually gave up eating fish full stop for a while – and many who fight for marine conservation reckon this is the only way to tackle the overfishing problem. It would undeniably help matters if we all gave up eating fish for a while, give the oceans a breather and a chance to recover from the devastation, but it’s not practical.

It’s hard enough to persuade people to start eating fish that’s sustainable, never mind giving up a fish supper entirely.

So my tactic is to lead by example and go on about all the yummy fish there is, that won’t lead to extinction and the death of our oceans – just as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have brilliantly done on an international scale.

I’m on a mission to find the best eco-friendly restaurants on the map. There’s actually a site dedicated to the best sustainable fish restaurants, Fish 2 Fork – it’s a really easy to use guide on where you can dine guilt-free and where to avoid.

Well, first on my list is Feng Sushi – a Japanese restaurant that puts sustainability at the top of the menu. Check out my review that I wrote for top lifestyle website, Sky Living Daily.

Have you been to any restaurants that boast sustainably sourced fish? Leave a comment below and share your favourites.

Sea Champions Unite

Beach clean-up, Brighton

 

This weekend saw the first official meeting of the South and South East Sea Champions.

We dragged our snoozy bums out of bed on a Sunday morning to catch up in Brighton, share ideas and get inspired on how to spread the message of marine conservation – we even did a spot of beach cleaning and threw some unsavoury items in a bin bag.

What takes the longest to disintegrate into the oceanOur region’s co-ordinator, Ed Santry, taught us all about the Marine Conservation Society – what they focus on and what they hope to achieve with our help. Some disturbing photos of the effects of pollution on marine life made me sad – as it always does.

I’m a softie when it comes to animals full stop, so I can’t help but feel a mixture of anger, sadness and resolution to put a stop to the unnecessary deaths of sea creatures when I look at photos of a turtle suffocated by a plastic bag or a seal entirely covered and restrained by a fishing net.

But it wasn’t a day of feeling down in the dumps about all the things we need to change, rather we focussed on how we can reverse devastating trends. It’s not hopeless if we all pull together and there’s never been a more exciting time to get involved.

This means you too – I’m not blowing my own trumpet of virtue about how I’m donating my spare time to a good cause. My blog, my involvement in marine conservation out of work, sharing pictures of the underwater world are all done, not just for my enjoyment, but to get you excited about joining in too.

As I’ve harped on about before, and in the words of Moloko, the time is now.

We’ll be uniting as a regional group and organising beach cleans, trying our best to introduce plastic bag bans and making some NOISE. Mainly to the politicians who have the power to make a real difference to the future of our seas.

Did you know that the government will be running a public consultation on 127 Marine Conservation Zones this December? They’ll be designating these sites next year, but how many of these sites will end up actually being protected? It’s feared that the majority of these sites will be lost.

Bloody ridiculous.

Have a guess how much of the UK seas are fully protected from all forms of damaging activity, like overfishing or oil and gas extraction.

Less than 1%.

How on earth is there going to be a future with a measly portion of protection like that?

Put pressure on your MPs now – email them, write to them, most have Twitter accounts now, so tweet them. Do anything that will make them realise we are watching what they decide and they can’t let this slip through quietly.

If you want to take a look at where MCZs are being proposed, head to http://www.mczmapping.org.

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