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Over £2,500 raised in World Ocean Day walk

Eyleen Gomez

Today will see Marie Harrington complete her final 11.26km walk around the Rock to raise both funds and awareness for Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

She started her 1,609km journey 143 days ago on January 17 a journey of two and a half million steps.

Ms Harrington has also set up Our Precious Ocean an environmental conservation organisation in Gibraltar that is focusing on research, education and awareness and the preservation of marine and coastal habitats.

She has also published the first book, Salvador the Sea Lion, the first of series of 12 titled ‘Our Precious Ocean’ about marine animals.

“My whole day has been centred around the walking and it has become such a big part of my life,” she said.

“I have three big flags and my volunteers that are going to walk around with me on the last day.”

Over the past 143 days Ms Harrington said she has received a great amount of support from many individuals and businesses.

“I have had a few businesses that have sponsored me and had me wear their shirts as I walk around,” she said.

She added: “I have surpassed what I had hoped to raise. It was wild to think I could raise £1,000 with such a long challenge.”

“It was ambitious but I have gone up to over £2,500 and I have a bit more to come from people who said they would sponsor me.”

She now hopes she will reach the £3,000 mark.

Ms Harrington has raised such awareness to marine conservation she has been invited to give a talk to members of the Rotary Club.

“I am going to put together some ocean literacy courses and I have had some interest for Lottoland and BetVictor so going in and do some representations,” she said. She is also working with a NGO based in Campamento where the lead marine biologist is sharing her research with both the University of Seville and the University of Gibraltar. At present the NGO is doing a five-year study on the migration of fin whales.

This study may lead to the rerouting of shipping lanes through the Strait at certain times of the year to allow the endangered fin whale to migrate. They calf in the Mediterranean and feed in the Atlantic.

“The Mums get killed from blunt force trauma and the calves then can’t survive. There has been a juvenile washed up somewhere near here,” she said.

Our Precious Ocean will conduct land-based sightings from the Rock and Ms Harrington is hoping to recruit many citizen scientists to do this. Training will be provided as will data sheets and binoculars.

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