Mermaids, mermen, lobsters, pirates, and even the occasional shark marched and danced along the seafront.

Saturday’s second annual March of the Mermaids celebrated marine life and raised funds for the Marine Conservation Society during their parade. Slogans brandished on placards at Saturday’s event included ‘Make the beach a better plaice’.”

Natasha Hamilton, 39, came all the way from Weymouth, Dorset, to wear a makeshift octopus head with tentacles four metres across.

She said: “I wanted to support the event as I live in a coastal town as well.

“It also made lots of people laugh.”

Alicia Moss, 30, of Hove, only gave birth to her first son last Monday, but was determined to put on her mermaid costume and join the crowds.

She said: “Little Bubba is at home with Daddy – this is my chance to get a little break.

“I wanted to bring him along but the sun would be too much– maybe next year. “We are here to support marine conservation of course and to dress up as mermaids. We dress up as mermaids quite a lot anyway.”

The volunteer-run, family event is inspired by the huge annual Mermaid Parade oceans away in Coney Island, New York City.

Caroline Richards, 33, from Hove, spent one month, on-and-off, creating lobster claws and tail out of foam and 3.5 litres of orange paint.

She said: “The only way we are going to get local government to realise how important this all is, is to do things like this and show how many people have turned out.

“There are a lot of problems with litter – it is really a problem. Animals will eat anything.”

The fishily dressed walkers met at Hove Gardens and marched, with pauses for dancing, to Above Audio in Marine Parade, Brighton for an after-party with live music and prizes.

Xavier Clarke, 35, of Hove, dressed as a pirate and admitted he was “rather warm” under a suede coat and waistcoat as temperatures pushed 25 degrees.

He said: “I am here obviously for the conservation but also for the fun of dressing up.

“A little bit of attention would be great. If people bothered to pick up their own litter. There are enough litter bins around.”

Rosie Clarke, 34, of Withdean, used the event as an excuse to celebrate her recent birthday and one year with her partner.

She said: “I thought let’s get everyone together for something fantastic and fabulous.

“It is a great atmosphere and the fact that we are collecting for Marine Conservation is a bonus as well.

“I got a couple of wigs from a pound shop and grabbed all of my jewellery and sort of piled it all on.

“I sound like a carnival walking along.”

A 20-year-old who said her name is Ro Ocean, of Preston Park, said she “loved” the sea, adding: “It is said that in evolution we came from the ocean. It is our collective consciousness and it’s a part of us.

“I have a mermaid dress just because I wanted a mermaid dress. Then I found out this was happening and thought great. That’s amazing.”