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Protecting the Marine Environment for Norfolk

Marine Conservation for Norfolk Action Group (MCNAG) was formed in 2021 to gather conservation interests into a coherent voice to aid engagement with EIFCA and their Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) activities.

The exclusion of conservationists from the MCZ management process in the past has been frustrating and has held back progress because the industry and DEFRA parties were not fully informed about conditions and impacts within the MCZ.

As a conservation group, we are principally concerned with the protection of the wildlife and geology that make up the precious marine environment off Norfolk. We are a group for active conservationists, engaging to better the marine environment wherever possible and aiming to bring together other organisations that are concerned about extractive, destructive or polluting activities in the sea off Norfolk.

Who we are

MCNAG consists of a board of personnel rather than a committee; a panel of equals, that represents a broad range of interests. We are currently planning to incorporate as a community interest company (CIC) to enable a variety of projects.

At present Rob Spray chairs the Action Group and that is primarily to act as a point of contact to direct enquiries and opportunities to the constituent groups and individuals within MCNAG who have specialist interests and information relevant to the management of the MCZ.

We are committed to reviewing our aims, membership and methods regularly to ensure we stay relevant and active.

Board members:

Elizabeth Beston is currently an undergraduate biology student, with a special interest in intertidal taxonomy and ecology. She is also a Seasearch volunteer and regular beach cleaner, recently setting up the Norfolk Beach Cleaners Collective with other litter pickers.

Carl Chapman is a qualified ornithologist that has run ‘Wildlife Tours and Education’, a tour company based in North Norfolk, since 2008. He is the county’s cetacean and pinniped recorder and a marine mammal medic with British Divers Marine Life Rescue, is a trustee of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society and chairs the Liaison Committee.

Kat Gerasimova believes in reducing barriers to learning about the reef and surrounding environment so more of us can appreciate why it is important to preserve it. Her experiences as a director of other not-for-profits and building communities will help develop the group to fill the void currently felt by the community. When not working with MCNAG, you will find Kat teaching divers about the unique wildlife found on the reef and monitoring the reef for Seasearch..

Ben Nurse completed his Open Water Scuba Diver qualification in early 2019, since then he has progressed to a Rescue Diver during which time his love for diving off the Norfolk coast has only grown. He is also a British Driver Marine Life Rescue medic. Protecting the marine wildlife is a key moral goal for him.

Rob Spray used to be an engineer dealing with video transmission who got caught up in combining diving with digital cameras late in the last century. His first UK dives were in Norfolk and although he has dived extensively all over the world he still thinks Norfolk is very special. He helps Dawn Watson coordinate Seasearch East and took part in the MCZ stakeholder process and the EIFCA committee. He is the county’s joint marine fish and invertebrate recorder.

Jane Steed is a Zoology graduate and former Research Scientist who has always been interested in natural history and conservation and has been involved with education activities at the coast. She enjoys sea swimming and joined the MCNAG team to help out with admin, the website and social media.

Will Stewart is a Surfer Against Sewage member & MCS Volunteer Beach Clean Organiser as well as a snorkeler and surfer.

Dawn Watson coordinates Seasearch East and handles Seasearch data for the majority of England and Scotland. She is an accomplished underwater surveyor as well as being the authority on the biodiversity of North Norfolk’s chalk reef. Dawn was a microbiologist and now runs a cattery. Dawn is also the county’s joint marine fish and invertebrate recorder.

Kellie Woods has been a scuba diver for 17 years and is currently studying for her PADI DiveMaster qualification. She has a passion for all things marine life and has enjoyed many hours underwater around the world and here at home on the Norfolk Chalk Reef. Passionate about protecting our marine environment, she is an onshore Sea Shepherd volunteer, a trained BDMLR marine mammal medic and is currently studying a distance learning masters in international environmental law.

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