Interns for the beginning of the 2013 field season have arrived in New Quay excited and eager to work with the Sea Watch Foundation on their Cardigan Bay Monitoring project! This project aims to collect data on the abundance, distribution, reproductive success, and population structure of the bottlenose dolphins, grey seals, and harbour porpoises in the area in order to assist with the conservation management of these species.
Interns have been going through training this past week as they become familiar with the techniques used to collect this valuable data, such as photo-identification, land and boat-based surveys. While out on their first boat-based survey aboard the Ermol V on April 19th, the group experienced their first encounter, a grey seal! The seal was spotted about 20 meters away from the boat around Seal Bay, just outside of New Quay Bay happily floating in the waves.
Land-based surveys are done from the pier in New Quay Bay where any sightings of the three species are recorded, as well as boat activity in order to examine their effects on the animals’ behaviour. The first land watch survey group reported another grey seal on April 20th about 200 meters from the pier by the Fish Factory.
Interns will be receiving their distance training out in the bay this week; hopefully they will be able to practice with some bottlenose dolphins!