Samantha Fanshawe, head of the UK's Marine Conservation Society, 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 has been Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Conservation Society (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.

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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