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How to Get into Marine Conservation

15 / 01 / 2021

What is Marine Conservation?

Marine conservation is the practice of ensuring survival and safety for marine life, plants and habitats. This can be in any type of water, such as oceans, rivers, lakes or even large ponds. A marine conservationists' job can involve many different roles but is always centred around a commitment towards the protection and preservation of waters’ natural inhabitants and their habitats.

Marine conservationists use science and research to inform their work, which is heavily influenced by ecology, biology and marine biology, oceanography, marine science and zoology, as well as Ichthyology (the study of fish). However, this doesn’t mean you necessarily require a degree in any of these subjects to step into the world of marine conservation as a career path.

Can Marine Conservation help save our seas?

You may be wondering - should people start worrying about marine conservation? Is marine conservation something you should care about? The answer is yes! The ensured survival of marine species is integral to our planet’s sustained future and to keeping our planet’s biodiversity plentiful.

Marine conservation aids the restoration of our oceans due to the extensive damage done by mankind, and it can actually work to reverse threats to extinction currently faced by huge proportions of marine life. A huge part of a marine biologist’s job now revolves around combatting the presence of plastic and rubbish in the oceans, and the devastating impacts that this has on marine life. Marine conservation is vital in reversing the catastrophic effects human mass consumption has had upon our oceans and seas. In fact, according to, there are currently 5652 species from the marine threatened species list that are in critical danger of extinction. This figure is expected to rise as time goes on, due to the increasing levels of over-fishing and human interference with ocean life.

Did you know?

Marine conservation and its mission are so important to future sustainability that it’s been noted as one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. At Goal 14, the stated aim is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. So, marine conservation and marine conservation careers are more in demand now than ever before!

What are the career options available in marine conservation?

Are you feeling inspired for a career in marine conservation? There are a variety of roles available in the marine conservation sector, so here’s a just a few ideas to show you some of the options out there:

  • Marine Biologist

You may be wondering if marine biology is a good career choice? Yes! Marine biology is a good career that offers variety, dynamism and the chance to make a positive difference to our planet’s seas and waters. Marine biologists study organisms that live in the water, collecting data, analysing it and writing reports.

  • Marine Zoologist

This role is very similar to a marine biologist, but it focuses on marine mammals and animals more specifically than marine plants and habitats. The role will include lots of research and recording, and it will likely be a very hands-on practical role that involves fieldwork.

  • Oceanographer

Oceanographers study the oceans. They can deal with a wide range of issues such as climate change, ocean habitat degradation, eroding coastlines, declining fisheries, and even the development of innovative methods and technologies to exploring and protecting the seas.

  • Conservation Communications & PR

Have a passion for marine conservation but don’t want to get your hands wet? Why not work in an organisation or marine conservation charity? There are plenty of opportunities available in offices for marketing and campaigning roles which help spread the word and communicate the importance of marine conservation to the rest of the world.

  • Marine Conservation Educator

Have you got a knack for teaching others? Raising awareness of the necessity for marine conservation is no small feat, so taking on a role as a specialist in marine conservation education is a wonderful way to help make a difference! You will be responsible for enlightening others about the struggles our oceans currently face, and this is likely to involve hosting talks, school visits, charity events and more.

  • Marine Ecotourism Specialist

Ecotourism is the practice of reducing impacts that tourism has on natural environments and tourist destinations. All tourist destinations can experience detrimental effects as a result of increased levels of tourism. So, as a marine ecotourism worker you will work to help show visitors the beauty of marine life whilst also educating them on the importance of its safety and sustainability.

  • Marine Veterinary Assistant

Marine animals get sick and injured just like any other creatures! A role as a marine vet assistant is likely to be hands-on and practical, you will be assisting the lead vet in providing vital care and relief to injured sea creatures. This could take place in a number of different locations, such as the UK or further abroad, in lakes, seas or even aquariums.

  • Marine Research Assistant

Marine research is hugely important for pioneering new ideas into the ways we as humans can help save our oceans and protect marine life. Marine research will hugely vary depending on the nature of the research in question, however, it is likely to be very practical, requiring a good level of analysis and attention to detail from researchers.

  • Aquarium Manager 

Aquariums can play an important role in maintaining the health and survival of critically endangered species, as well as other marine life. A role as an aquarium manager will likely involve responsibility for managing a team of aquarists, overseeing and organising day-to-day activities, training and recruiting new employees and ensuring a high standard of work is carried out effectively. This ensures that the animals’ welfare is a priority and that high cleanliness standard is maintained.

  • Marine Photographer

Got an eye for art and a creative flair? Marine photography might be the role for you! This job will require photographers who are capable and comfortable working in water and who have a good eye for photography and aesthetics.

So, a marine conservationist needs to be enthusiastic, passionate, hard-working, flexible, practical and knowledgeable about their chosen specific area of work. Marine conservation roles are often hands-on, demanding and require conservationists to be highly analytical and innovative in their thinking.

Does this sound like the perfect career path for you? Read below to find out our top tips to kick-start your future as marine conservationist!

So, how to get into marine conservation?

  • Take the plunge

One of the best ways to kickstart a career in marine conservation is to get stuck in and involved wherever you can. Be open to visiting and exploring different marine conservations sites. The great thing about marine conservation? The opportunities can take you all over the world! What could be better, learning about marine conservation and exploring the world at the same time?

Want to stay more local? Not a problem! The UK has over 91 registered Marine Conservation Zones around England and the rest of the UK. What is a marine conservation zone? Marine Conservation Zones are specific areas throughout the UK that protect a range of rare, important or threatened species and habitats. The full list of marine conservation zones is available on the Gov.UK website, and most are free to access and visit.

  • Get some experience

Gaining practical experience of marine conservation is a sure-fire way to improve your career prospects when applying for a conservation job. Employers love to see hands-on, practical training on candidate CVs as well as a good theoretical understanding of the sector. Gaining paid experience can sometimes be difficult without any previous experience, so if you’re stuck why not offer your support as a volunteer? This could be anything from helping out at your local aquarium, offering services to marine conservation charities or even participating in local beach clean-ups!

  • Brush up on your theory

Practical training in marine conservation is the perfect addition to compliment your theoretical understanding. A recognised course or qualification in marine conservation or a related subject is the perfect way of boosting your knowledge and making sure you are ready to start work. Why not check out our Marine Courses? At Animal Courses Direct we are the leading UK provider of animal and veterinary courses, so you can count on us to provide you with expert knowledge and advice for your dream career with animals.

  • Keep up to date with news

Having a good understanding of the increasing modern-day impacts and problems that our marine life faces (both right now and in the near future) will put you in a more knowledgeable position to address these issues in a marine conservation job. Make sure you don’t feel like a fish out of water when it comes to any surprise interview questions!

Alternatively, you may like to check out our other Conservation Courses – if water and the oceans aren’t your thing! Or to view our full course range, click here, and lastly, don’t forget you can get in touch with one of our animal professionals for career advice through our Contact Us page.

Make a change today, enquire now and dive into your dream career as a Marine Conservationist!

Also, if you adore animals, you can keep track of all upcoming animal awareness days and events with our FREE calendar! Download it here.


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