Beside the seaside

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

Wind in your hair (up your nose and whistling in your ears), salt spray making everything tangy and slightly sticky, waves crashing in and sploshing up your legs. Blue sky, sun shining and a group of students netting 50 square feet of shoreline to see what’s caught.

We were out helping the Environment Agency (EA) in establishing and checking the quality of the water in a local estuary. This involves two shore nets and one mini drag net to see what species of fish there are present. The types and numbers of fish thn indicate the quality of the water.

We found:

1 marine (or 15-spined) stickleback (gorgeous and apparently quite rare)
2 jeuvenile herring
a few jeuvenile grey gold mullet
a few common gobies
a few more than that bass
and a LOT of sea smelts
(also a handful of small crabs and 5 brown shrimp, but they didn’t count towards the test)

Great fun, good bonding with classmates and a half day off at the end of it. Not too shabby. And always fun to be dabbling around with waders.

The EA measure the quality of the water by comparing the numbers and types of fish found with a computer-generated extrapolation of what would be found in that stretch if it was pristine and unused by humans. And the amazing thing to consider is that despite the pollution, there was SO much life in a relatively small area!

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