Dive into conservation -
Any dive can be a Seasearch dive!
Image by Rob Spray
Seasearch was created by Dr Bob Earll (then Head of Conservation at the Marine Conservation Society) and Dr Roger Mitchell (then Head of the Marine Science Branch of the Nature Conservancy Council) in the mid-1980s. They realised that there was a growing number of non-professional divers whose enthusiasm and knowledge could be extremely valuable for UK marine conservation.
Throughout the 1990s, Seasearch was run by the Marine Conservation Society and much of the recording took place off the west coast of Scotland. There were also active local projects in Wales, Sussex and Dorset.
These projects were so successful that in 1999 a steering group was formed to expand the project on a national basis. The group comprised conservation organisations, NGO’s (including the Marine Conservation Society), dive training associations and independent experts.
Seasearch had a big boost in 2003 when it received new funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund. This led to the appointment of a National Co-ordinator and a network of local co-ordinators. The project rapidly expanded, with more training courses, dives and events taking place than ever before.
Since then the project has gone from strength to strength. Seasearch data has directly contributed to the identification of numerous sites throughout Britain and Ireland as Marine Conservation Zones and Marine Protected Areas. As of 2021, the Seasearch dataset consisted of almost 800,000 habitat and species records, all of which are publicly available through the National Biodiversity Network.