Each year, we at the Sea Watch Foundation lead a campaign to get members of the general public contributing to science to protect whales & dolphins.
Over the past forty years, whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) around our coast have been monitored by Sea Watch Foundation scientists as well as volunteer observers all around the coast. For the past 13 years this has been spearheaded through an annual event, the ‘National Whale & Dolphin Watch’. This years’ event takes place between 23rd and 31st July and, with your help, could be the most successful ever!
“All that people need to do to take part is to report their whale and dolphin sightings to us and to either participate in the advertised organised watches or to arrange their own. It’s very easy and we’ll explain how!” says Sightings Officer, Kathy James.
A Risso’s dolphin photographed off a Cornish beach in the 2015 National Whale and Dolphin Watch
All around the coast there are whales, dolphins and porpoises. Some species, like the bottlenose dolphin, tend to be seen in particular locations around the UK. Whereas others like the harbour porpoise and minke whale have a more widespread distribution.
“Many people don’t realise the wealth of whales and dolphins we have around our coasts. You don’t need to go abroad to go whale watching or to have a dolphin experience” adds Kathy. “We’ve recently seen an usually high number of humpback whale sightings around the UK, for example, and we have some amazing dolphin-spotting locations” continues Kathy. “Even if you think that your nearest coastline is uneventful in terms of cetaceans, it’s highly likely that there will be some out there – you just need to spend the time looking! And even if you don’t see anything during a watch, that information is just as valuable to us.”
During the 2015 event, the arctic beluga whale was added to the list of species seen around the UK during this annual summer event, among some 946 sightings of 4480 animals. For more facts and figures from last years’ event, please see the 2015 National Whale and Dolphin Watch report.
We now have a National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2016 page on our website, waiting for your events to be uploaded, so please get in touch with your plans and ideas! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org.