Alderney's marine environment is very diverse and busy. Because we are such a small island the sea plays a bit part in everyone's life, from fishing to sailing to weather! The marine environment begins from the upper beach shoreline and extends out to the shallow seas, by approximately 3 nautical miles (which is the length of 370 double decker buses put together!). The marine environment of Alderney comprises of different marine features, including: sandy beaches, rocky shores, craggy seafloors, fast flowing seas and offshore islands (known as islets).
Each of these marine features provides shelter and food for a variety of marine species. The sandy shores of Alderney are full of marine worms and shells, hidden away in the sands. The island's rocky shores provide shelter for important starfish, sea anemones, crabs, limpets and seaweeds. Out to sea, the seafloor is covered with sponges and kelp beds, with the fast flowing seas brimming with plankton, fish and playful bottle-nose dolphins. On the offshore islets, grey seals are hauled out, basking in the lovely sunshine. As you can see it is a very rich and busy environment!
Here we are with some of our volunteers looking for ormers, also known as abalones - they are quite like marine snails. They are now very rare in the Channel Islands as people took so many to eat in the past. This year we didn't find any, but we will go out again and look soon! We did find lots of marine life in the rockpools and shoreline - can you think of five creatures we might have found?
A lot of the marine environment around Alderney is part of our Ramsar site which Filip introduced yesterday. This means it is conserved (or protected) as a wetland area because the species found there are internationally important. The name comes from where the agreement was signed - Ramsar in Iran.
Alderney had the first Ramsar site in the Channel Islands but now Guernsey, Herm and Jersey all have their own! This is great news for marine species as they have safe areas all around. Have you ever been to a protected area before? What was it like compared to the town?
Just a reminder we have time slots available for a chat about Island Life and Alderney tomorrow for any schools interested!