My name is Max Renton and I am a Coastal Explorer Intern (CEI). I grew up in the Isle of Man, surrounded by the Irish Sea. From a young age, I developed a fascination of the natural world, thanks to the amazing Manx coastline and David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have access to boats, spending much of my free time on the water, exploring the wonders of the Irish Sea including seals, basking sharks, gannets and much more. I was also a keen angler, often catching mackerel for dinner in the summer months. Fishing gave me the knowledge to better understand local fish species, habitats, and seasonal changes.
My ambition to understand and protect the natural world led me to study for my undergraduate in Animal Biology. For my dissertation, I organised a research project/internship in South Africa to investigate the population of white sharks in Mossel Bay. My study also investigated how white shark abundance was affected by environmental parameters throughout the year. Additionally, I was part of the White Shark Africa team. As part of the team I was responsible for taking visitors on daily trips to see the white sharks. Before taking the visitors on board, I would give a presentation, educating visitors on white sharks, with aims to change negative perceptions around these keystone apex predators, promoting conservation of a species under increasing threat and uncertainty. While in South Africa, I was fortunate enough to experience a daily abundance of marine life including pods of hundreds of dolphins surfing, regular visits from breaching humpback whales, inquisitive right whales and varying shark species. I also volunteered weekly at a penguin rehabilitation centre, caring for injured seabirds before reintroduction.
After university, I carried out an internship at Defa, Isle of Man, working with the environmental protection unit. My role was to produce a report on the coordinated environmental monitoring programme (CEMP), to fulfill the Isle of Man’s commitment to OSPAR for monitoring hazardous substances in Manx coastal waters.
My aim has always been to be part of marine conservation, helping to protect and enhance the marine environment while inspiring other to do the same. The CEI provides the ideal opportunity for me to gain knowledge and skills to improve my employability and secure a role which supports the new conservation mission and ambitions set out in the form of the new Environmental Improvement Plan; helping to resolve the conflicting demands between economic development and protecting the environment; and help provide nature-based solutions to tackling challenges from climate change and other environmental threats.
I am excited to get industry experience from the wide range of partners involved in the CEI. In addition to meeting and connecting with the amazing people who work in the marine sector. I am also looking forward to designing and carrying out my research projects, with the aim to provide impactful results which can be used to help inform decisions to protect the marine environment and encourage sustainability.