History of Seasearch
Seasearch is the brain child of Dr. Bob Earll and Dr. Robert Mitchell, who recognised the potential of recreational divers to record inshore marine biodiversity. Since the 1990s it has been run by the Marine Conservation Society and up to 2014 had gathered 450,000 species and habitat records in British waters.
In March 2009, CFT teamed up with Seasearch to provide a marine conservation project for Irish divers, Seasearch Ireland. This project has been running ever since and to date has collected over 50,000 species and habitat records in Irish waters.
More info on the history and work of Seasearch in the UK is available here
Divers are well placed to be the “eyes and ears” of the effort to protect the marine environment around our coastline. During Seasearch courses, divers are trained to complete dive observation forms. The forms are then returned to Seasearch and are used to assist in creating an underwater “map” of areas dived. Local divers are best positioned to observe changes at their local sites and documenting those changes can provide the evidence base for informing public policy and the designation of protections to ensure that divers can continue to enjoy our spectacular marine life in years to come.
Seasearch Ireland operates an open source data policy so all records submitted go to the National Biodiversity Data Centre and are freely available to view via their online mapping system. The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a national organisation for the collection, and management of data on Ireland’s biological diversity.