This week Mourne Youth Rangers headed for the shores down by Kilkeel to help turn the tide on litter. There’s too much rubbish on our beaches and pollution in our seas so these young people are doing there bit to protect our coastal diversity. Litter is not only an eyesore but is also a danger to the amazing wildlife in our seas and on our beaches. Some of our best-loved marine wildlife is under threat from the waste and litter in our seas, with hundreds of species accidentally eating or becoming entangled in litter. Adequately prepared for the wet weather the team wasted no time in getting stuck in lifting plastic bottles; rope, netting, aluminium drink cans and scrap metal.
In a space of a few hours the group had lifted over 30 bags of rubbish making a significant contribution which didn’t go unnoticed by grateful locals. The team then headed over to Kilkeel Leisure centre to shelter from the rain to have lunch.
Following lunch the young people moved location to Annalong Marine Park where there are good example of rock pools filled with diverse sea creatures. The team broke loose searching under rocks and in deep pools to find exciting sea life. First to be spotted was a shore crab a fairly common find throughout the rest of the afternoon.
This crab is a very important carnivore of the rocky shore as it will eat most animals especially molluscs like periwinkles, topshells and dogwhelks. A brave youth ranger managed to catch a Blenny in her hands that was hiding under a large rock.
The Blenny is the commonest fish likely to be found on the seashore. It is able to survive out of water for long periods of time. The team came across two species of starfish the common and Brittle Star along with an edible crab; sea slater, beadlet anemone, sea slater and a prawn.
Thanks to Kilkeel leisure centre for kindly facilitating a dry place for everyone to have lunch.