This session will introduce the topic of marine pollution, focusing particularly on the impact of plastics in the marine environment and the efforts of conservationists dealing with this indiscriminately global problem.


Until recently, plastic pollution has not been a widely recognised issue in general public knowledge. Only through revelations in hard-hitting television documentaries and other media, as well as scientific research, has the spotlight been shone on what has long been known to be a significant and serious threat to animal and human health in conservation circles. The tide has now turned, awareness is spreading at a rapid rate and the world at large is acknowledging that the issues exist and require considerable action from an individual level through to international legislation.

Much is yet to be revealed into the still-hidden effects of plastics in marine food webs. The surface has barely been scratched, and the full extent of the damage already done is not yet well understood. However, what is known has sent reverberations around the world for many who want to act, to play their part in actively raising awareness of the problems and the solutions that every person on the planet can be a part of. Ultimately, almost all of us have been unknowingly complicit in creating this situation where global health is threatened, and the collapse of animal populations is silently happening around us, and it will need all of us working together to try to save whatever is left.


Speakers to be confirmed
  • Dan Jarvis
    Dan Jarvis
    FdSc BSc PgCert
    Growing up in the West Midlands I had no interest in the marine environment as a career choice through simple lack of contact. Summer family holidays to North Devon and later Cornwall, however, would see us visiting the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and spotting bottlenose dolphins off St Ives for the first time, thus realising that there was more to this country than I knew. I think it was probably then that the seeds were planted, though I didn’t really realise it at the time. It was only after we moved as a family to Cornwall, just after I had finished my GCSEs, that we saw an advert for the Marine Mammal Medic course being run by British Divers Marine Life Rescue and thought we would give it a go. Soon after that things started spiral into something of a career. I went on to study marine and freshwater biology at College, spending weekends and other spare time volunteering at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, helping with BDMLR callouts and also going out to record dead stranded marine mammals for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network too. I was a founding member of Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and became their volunteer Secretary, and later a Trustee when it became a charity. I continued my education with a full degree in marine biology at Plymouth University, followed by a distance learning course in Marine Mammal Management.
    I worked on the Animal Care Team at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary for ten years until 2016, during which time I led the conservation and research programmes on top of the daily care and responsibilities to both the rescued seal pups undergoing rehabilitation and the resident pinnipeds. After I took on a new role as Welfare Development and Field Support Officer at British Divers Marine Life Rescue I extensively redeveloped the training and learning resources, as well as building from scratch a mobile temporary seal holding unit, the first of its kind for the UK. I have attended over 2500 callouts to marine mammals around the country, the rehabilitation of several hundred seals and been directly involved with a multitude of conservation initiatives, collaborations, campaigns and research projects over the years. Currently I am investigating innovative new techniques for adult seal disentanglement, which is one of the more difficult aspects of marine mammal rescue and welfare globally.
ICARE 2019
London, UK