The Welsh Sea Watchers Project was established in 2013 with the generous support of the Wales Volunteering Fund to monitor whales, dolphins and porpoises around Welsh coast with the help of volunteers.
Wales is an area that is particularly rich in cetacean diversity with one of only two resident populations of bottlenose dolphins in the UK found on its West coast. A wide variety of other cetacean species such as harbour porpoise, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, minke whales, fin whales and killer whales are also recorded on a regular basis. Sea Watch is hoping to increase the understanding and awareness of these species through the Welsh Sea Watchers Project- and if you live in Wales, you can get involved!
The project aims to establish a network of dedicated volunteers, volunteering their time to monitor, educate and raise awareness of the diversity of Welsh cetaceans. “Sea Watchers” are tasked with setting up their own land based surveys, organising and getting involved in public awareness events and going into schools to raise awareness of the fantastic marine wildlife that can be found off our shores!
Our Welsh Sea Watchers have already made an impact on marine life in Wales, says our Wales Development Officer, Katrin:
‘Volunteers are regularly organising land based watches all around Wales and, recently, volunteers on Anglesey organised a public land-based watch within the local community to engage and educate the public about the great marine wildlife that can be seen off the Welsh coast.’
‘Apart from land-based watches, our more experienced volunteers may also receive additional training in boat based surveying. This year, 9 of our volunteers took part in the first photo-identification survey of bottlenose dolphins off the North Coast of Wales, funded by the charity Sea-Changers. A group of 30 bottlenose dolphins were encountered offshore at Prestatyn, of which at least 12 animals have been matched to the existing Sea Watch catalogue. This is really exciting as we can use these sightings to further our understanding of bottlenose dolphin habitat use across a wider region than we previously have been able to do.”
The Welsh Sea Watchers project is an on-going project; volunteers may apply throughout the year. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcomed, you do not need a scientific background to get involved!
If you want to find out more or want to get involved, contact Mathew Clough on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are already a volunteer, log in here for your personalised updates and access to the handbook and sighting forms.
You can also keep up to date with the Welsh Sea Watchers Project via Twitter!