We would like to welcome a new recruit to the Sea Watch team, Stacey McCarthy, who has recently been appointed as Sea Watch Regional Coordinator for South Devon, where she is going to assist Mark (Walker) and cover Plymouth Sound, Wembury and Berry Head!
Having grown up by the coast in Blackpool, I’ve always had a love for the sea and marine life in general. This, and seeing bottlenose dolphins for the first time during a boat trip in Mallorca when I was little, led to my love of cetaceans and a passion for marine conservation.
Whilst studying Biology at Liverpool Hope University, I tried to gain as much practical experience as possible and so I gained my PADI open water scuba diving certificate and became a marine mammal surveyor through ORCA. I then volunteered with the Liverpool Bay Marine Life Trust which was where I got my first opportunity to survey marine mammals and learn about the techniques required for conducting effort-based land watches and species photo identification. From there I volunteered with Sea Watch, undertaking both land and boat surveys, and after graduating I became the North West Regional Coordinator, with most of my work focusing on the Fylde Coast. I thoroughly enjoyed the role and everything it encompassed, and it was amazing to see an overall increase in cetacean sightings across the area, particularly of bottlenose dolphins!
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to South Africa where I worked with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. It was an incredible experience which enabled me to assist with photo identification research and collect biological and environmental related data whilst on board whale watching vessels, contributing to the conservation efforts of various cetaceans, most notably southern right whales and humpback dolphins.
After returning to the UK I decided to relocate to the South West where I studied my master’s degree at Plymouth University. My research dissertation focused on the ethical consumption of marine mammal tourism. This is something I’m particularly passionate about, especially as whale/dolphin watching is becoming increasingly popular, but marine ecosystems are sadly more fragile. Now that I’ve finished my studies, I’m really excited to be a Regional Coordinator for Sea Watch again and I can’t wait to see what sightings we encounter in South West waters!