Scotland a great place to see whales and dolphins

Whale MPAs

Scotland is a hotspot for catching a glimpse of marine mammals, according to the results of the 2017 National Whale and Dolphin Watch.

The survey, conducted every summer by volunteers for the Sea Watch Foundation, records the number of whale and dolphin sightings across the UK.

During last year’s event, which took place 29th July – 6th August, a record-breaking 1,529 hours of dedicated watches took place. This equals some 300 hours more than any previous occasion!

In 2017, 2,500 volunteers all around the British Isles got involved to report on the UK’s whale and dolphin species. This was the sixteenth year that this huge citizen science scheme had taken place and is clearly building on popularity year on year.

“It’s so important for people to join in helping us to track whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK waters. The Sea Watch Foundation database holds hundreds of thousands of records which are used by scientists and governments to inform research and policy on these wonderful animals” says Kathy James, Sightings Officer for Sea Watch.

“By taking part, people are directly contributing to their conservation”.

Aside from the effort put in by volunteers in 2017, there were also a huge number of whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings reported by the public as part of the event. 1,410 records of cetaceans were reported from land and at sea.

The reports received during the 2017 event amounted to around 6,500 individual animals “captured” by the survey, a powerful testament to citizen science.

This most recent effort also showed that on average around the UK, a cetacean could be spotted once an hour! North and East Scotland, South Devon, Cornwall and North-east England all had a greater sightings rate than the national average.

Read the full story and 2017 report at Sea Watch Foundation.

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