Fatface this year are donating the money raised from the sales of their paper bags in store through the Fatface Foundation, to support a welsh charity NARC (Neptune’s Army Of Rubbish Cleaners) who are a voluntary group of divers based in Pembrokeshire, West Wales whose aim is to keep the under water world litter free by embarking on around 12 dives a year to retrieve rubbish from the ocean.
The team dive down to retrieve any items that do not belong at the bottom of the ocean. Over the years they have retrieved cars, kitchen sinks and shopping trolleys to name a few all from the surrounding areas where they dive. All of their attempts are in aid of helping the local marine life and to raise an awareness of how ghost fishing gear and angling equipment can have a detrimental impact on the animals living both below and above the shoreline.
A group from the Foundation and Fatface Ltd were lucky enough to go to Milford Haven where NARC are based to meet a few of the dive team and be given a full tour walking around the coast of where they do their dives. Along the walk they told us about how the litter and items they retrieve from the bottom of the coast impact on the marine life. They told us how the birds on Skomer Island are now picking plastic and litter from the sea to build their nests meaning their hatchling’s are needing to be cut out of the plastic they become entangled in.
We walked around Martin’s Haven in Milford Haven where we were shown a a couple of coves where Seal pups were residing in their first few weeks of life. They told us all about local teams efforst to monitor and preserve the pups on the coastline. Lobster potting is a huge part of NARCS efforts, they will receive calls from local fishermen telling them that they have lost a number of their pots or angling gear and ask if they can retrieve it for them. The divers are saving the fishermen the cost of replacing new pots, but even more so saving the marine life from being damaged by the lost lobster pots and the broken lines they are attached to.
Narc have established a fantastic relationship with the local fishermen and have begun providing them with a number of tips and aids to educate them on how they can keep Wales’ only marine conservation ghost gear free. They have distributed a number of leaflets throughout the coastline which includes information on when is the best time to fish with regards to minimizing the loss of angling equipment and what the best equipment is the best to use in varying conditions. Bins designed by NARC have been installed all around the coastline with the function of collecting unwanted angling gear. NARC, since creating these have seen a decrease in the litter left by fishers around the martin’s Haven coast line and have seen an increase in the amount of rubbish being deposited into the bins.
The work this team of divers and non divers do is phenomenal and they are making a huge difference to the coastlines in Pembrokeshire as well as spreading awareness around the rest of Wales. It was a pleasure to spend a day in their world and gaining an understanding of the work and effort they put into their volunteering.