Orca Watch 2021 – Status update

28 January 2021

Given the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to share our current thoughts on Orca Watch 2021.

We really hope that Orca Watch 2021 (May 29th – June 6th) can take place. However, although there are promising signs around the impact the current lockdown measures are having, and the vaccination programme is underway, it seems it may take rather longer than initially thought for life to return to some sort of pre-lockdown normal.

Bearing that in mind, and having examined in detail the various Covid-19 restrictions (not only the current lockdowns, but also the Scottish protection levels, Tiers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland etc) we believe that the following three criteria need to be met for Orca Watch to take place at the end of May.

1.     The Highlands Region, The Orkneys, Shetland and a significant majority of the rest of Scotland needs to have moved out of Lockdown and out of Protection Levels

2.     England and Wales need to be at least at a low Tier/Alert Level

3.     Scotland needs to be free of travel bans or quarantine requirements for the countries most attendees will travel from or through. 

This is due to the restrictions on travel, overnight stays, assembling in groups etc, which would severely impact on the ability of Sea Watch to run a successful event. In terms of practicalities, the latest we can decide to cancel is the beginning of April.

As we’ve learnt, the situation can change quickly, so we don’t yet want to give up hope that the above criteria won’t be met. Over the next couple of months or so, we will continue to plan for a physical event but, in case we do have to cancel, we’re already planning an online version of Orca Watch. 

Please watch this space for future updates.