Living Seas

Living Seas

Photo: Tom Marshall

What is Living Seas?

Living Seas is The Wildlife Trusts’ vision for the future of the UK’s seas. Within Living Seas, abundant and diverse marine life thrives, from the depths of the ocean to the coastal shallows.

In Living Seas, wildlife and habitats are recovering from past decline as our use of the seas’ resources becomes environmentally sustainable. The natural environment is adapting well to a changing climate, and ocean processes are helping to slow down climate change.  People are inspired by marine wildlife and value the sea for the many ways in which it supports our quality of life.

But the UK’s seas are not Living Seas. Decades of neglect have left them damaged and degraded, a shadow of their former diversity and abundance.  We urgently need your help to bring them back to life.

Living Seas in Essex

Essex arguably has the longest coastline of any county in the UK – at over 350 miles!  We are lucky enough to experience a large range of coastal and marine habitats, from intertidal saltmarshes and mudflats to subtidal sandbanks and shellfish reefs. These habitats support a plethora of wildlife; including thousands of birds, a multitude of fish species, ‘orange Seals’, the Native Oyster and the tiny Short-snouted Seahorse. 

Essex’s position in the southern North Sea means that we also have a rich marine heritage including fin and shellfish fisheries, recreation and tourism and important ports.  Essex Wildlife Trust is involved in a number of projects and partnerships to conserve and protect our marine wildlife.

Living Seas Report

The way back to Living Seas

Read the Wildlife Trusts proposals for a UK Marine Strategy to guide development at sea,  environmental limits for fishing and protected areas for wildlife.

The Wildlife Trusts The Way Back to Living Seas report sets a vision for our marine environment and identifies five key challenges that must be addressed to restore our Living Seas and secure their health for future generations.  These are securing protected areas at sea; making fishing sustainable; ensuring development is sustainable, eliminating pollution; and inspiring and connecting people. 


Photo: Tom Hibbert 


Share our Shores

As the population of Essex grows, we must ensure we’re sharing the shore with our breeding wildlife, so that the tiny little tern, the ringed plover and the brightly beaked oystercatcher can grow up without disturbance.

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Bag of cotton bud sticks

Marine and Coastal Pollution

Marine pollution is one of the biggest threats to our oceans’ health – and we need to work together to tackle it.

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Whats happening now

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At Essex Wildlife Trust we are working towards Living Seas - a vision for the future of the UK's seas. Within Living Seas, abundant and diverse marine life thrives, from the depths of the ocean to the coastal shallows.

Sign up here to receive news on our Living Seas projects, exciting marine wildlife news, events to take part in across the county plus helpful tips on how you can do your part to protect marine wildlife along the Essex coast.