How are Scotland’s bottlenose dolphins doing?

Bottlenose dolphins breaching © WDC

A recent Save Scottish seas blog discusses the status of Scotland’s bottlenose dolphins, the pressures they face and how the protected areas network contributes to research and monitoring of the populations.

Save Scottish Seas guest blogger Sarah Dolman, Policy Manager at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and Save Scottish Seas campaign member takes a look at how Scotland’s incredible bottlenose dolphins are faring in our ever busier seas.

Scotland is lucky enough to have two populations of bottlenose dolphins. There are almost 200 dolphins in the east coast population, centred around the Moray Firth. These dolphins have been protected by one of the UK’s longest designated sites, a European Special Area of Conservation (SAC) that has been in place since October 1996 – more than 20 years!

The west coast population consists of about 45 animals, including 12 or 15 that are thought to reside entirely within the Sound of Barra, but they currently receive no site based protection. However all cetacean are offered ‘strict protection’ wherever they are in European waters, and bottlenose dolphins have been identified by Scottish Natural Heritage as a Priority Marine Feature (PMF), which can mean more site-based protection as part of the Marine Protected Area network.

Read the full blog post at Save Scottish Seas here.

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