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Published - 31/05/2013

MCS Chief Executive becomes first British woman to receive international environmental women's award for her 'outstanding' leadership of UK sea charity


MCS boss is the eleventh recipient of the Rachel Carson Prize

Samantha Fanshawe has become the first British woman to receive the Rachel Carson Prize, an environmental award in memory of the American marine biologist and author, often called the mother of the modern environmental movement.

Sam (46) has been Chief Executive Officer of Ross-on-Wye based MCS since 2004. Prior to that she was the charity's Head of Conservation and also ran the organisation's flagship Beachwatch programme which works to reduce marine litter.

Sam received the prize on June 2nd 2013 in Stavanger, Norway, during the city's celebrations of World Environment Day.

"It's an incredible honour to be recognized in this way, and to be associated with Rachel Carson, one of the environmental movement's most iconic pioneers. As a marine biologist, the sea inspired Rachel Carson to study and write of her concerns about how people were impacting the environment. This award recognizes the achievements of all those that I have been inspired by and worked with to take action to protect our seas for future generations," said Sam.

Born in Edgbaston, Sam has a BSc in Ecology from York University and an MSc in Marine Science from the University of California.

Sam receives the Rachel Carson Award from Norweigian MP, Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa   

The Rachel Carson Prize is awarded biennially after deliberations by a three- woman judging panel in Norway. Sam's long term commitment to protect marine resources and her leadership of MCS was cited by the panel as among the reasons for selecting her. The panel also said that under her leadership the impact and scope of conservation work delivered by MCS has increased significantly. They recognized Sam as a charismatic leader and a successful lobbyist.

Sam says the systematic decline in the state of our seas is one of the greatest environmental threats of this century: "Without action, instead of seas teeming with fish and dolphins, the seas could become filled with algae and jellyfish, falling largely silent and empty of life."

Over the last year alone Sam has led MCS during one its most high profile campaigns - to secure 127 Marine Conservation Zones in the seas around England. She has steered the charity in its critical work to secure the best reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Her award comes in the year MCS celebrates its 30th anniversary.


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