April proved a record month for sightings of harbour porpoise off the Norfolk coast – according to Carl Chapman, Regional Co-ordinator for the marine research charity Sea Watch and Norfolk’s Cetacean Recorder.
He says the number of harbour porpoise recorded off Norfolk this month is greater than any period during the last two years, or maybe even longer. Altogether he has seen or had confirmed reports of 19 sightings of 53 individuals in April.
Although there is usually a slight increase during april, the surge is unprecedented.
Carl says:” There have been no unusual reports of fish movements, although the unusual weather could be playing a part.”
However, the likely reason for increased sightings is the increase in observers revealing that the local harbour porpoise population might be more numerous than had originally been realised. Norfolk now has a core of interested individuals who report their sightings to Sea Watch Foundation and can register to receive a tweet or email when a sighting is reported at the Norfolk Cetaceans site.
But there is a downside. Carl adds: “With an increase in sightings also sadly comes an increase in mortality. At least four strandings have been reported so far in April. We are always looking for more observers and would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to help us gather regular data .”