Junior Sea Life conference

Brighton Sea Life Centre is searching for a young marine buff to be its representative at a unique National Junior Sea Life Conference in July.

All 11 UK Sea Life Centres and Sanctuaries are to select a youngster between the ages of 10 and 14 to represent them at the Conference in Birmingham on July 15 and 16.

"The aim is to raise awareness of the many serious threats that our seas and their inhabitants are facing" said Brighton curator Peter Jones.

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"We want to involve children in particular because they are the future custodians of the marine environment, and their generation is likely to be faced with even more critical decisions affecting that environment than ours."

Any doubts as to the value of Sea Life's mission have been dispelled by the latest scientific report on the state of the marine world. Last week's 'Science' reported that half the world's oceans have been heavily affected by human activity, and not a single square kilometre anywhere has escaped impact altogether.

Representatives of leading wildlife and conservation charities will be invited to the two day Conference at the luxurious Hilton Metropole in Birmingham, and it has already won the backing of national children's newspaper First News.

A visit to the flagship National Sea Life Centre and a prestigious Conference Dinner on day one, will be followed next day by 15 minute presentations by each of the 11 delegates.

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"They won't be on their own, however," explained Peter. "Our delegate, for example, will be helped by a marine expert here at the Centre, and

that expert will also help them at the Conference."

The Centre is urging young sea life enthusiasts from the region to write in and tell them about the marine conservation issue that most concerns them.

"They might be upset about whaling, worried about pollution or troubled by all they keep hearing about the melting polar ice cap," said Peter.

"The disappearance of coral reefs, the killing of sharks just for their fins, disappearing fish stocks or the Oriental trade in seahorses for use in traditional medicines are all possible topics."

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"Or it may be that someone already supports a very specific marine conservation project somewhere in the world, and would like to do a presentation on that."

"I've recently returned from helping a turtle conservation project in Brazil that would make an excellent subject, for example," Peter added.

The Centre is asking would-be delegates to write in and explain in no more than 100 words what they would like to talk about at the Conference.

The selected youngsters will not only receive expert help researching and preparing their Conference address, they will also get to take mum, dad or another guardian along with them.

The closing date for children to get their letters in is Friday, March 28th. They should go to the Centre on Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1TB or by e-mail to [email protected]