We are very happy to announce that thanks to funding from Environment Wales, the Pier Watch Project is being launched this autumn. Based in New Quay, West Wales, this project aims to collect photo-ID data of bottlenose dolphins. This technique has been used for many years by the Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project during boat-based surveys. Using the nics and notches which bottlenose dolphins acquire throughout their lives on their dorsal fin, researchers are able to identify individual dolphins from photos taken in the field. Over the years, this data has enabled Sea Watch researchers to calculate bottlenose dolphin population estimates for Cardigan Bay and gather data on the life histories of these animals.
Every year, New Quay Bay is frequented by a number of recognisable dolphins who come to feed or socialise in its sheltered waters. To the delight of tourists and researchers alike, the animals are easily visible from New Quay pier but up until now, the majority of these sightings have taken place just outside the reach of Sea Watch’s photographic equipment and so the animals have gone unidentified. Thanks to the Environment Wales grant we have been able to purchase a telephoto lens powerful enough to identify animals located up to one kilometer away. All the data gathered on New Quay pier will be summarised in regular blog posts in the Pier Watch Project Blog.
This project has been set up in memory of Dave Bennett who could often be spotted enjoying the dolphins antics off New Quay Pier. Many thanks to Delyth his wife for her unwavering support.
Many thanks also to all those who wrote letters to Environment Wales in support of our application for funding for this project!!!