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Scillonian passengers asked to help spot sea mammals


A marine conservation charity has asked Scillonian passengers to help identify whales, porpoises and dolphins during ORCA Oceanwatch 2017.

Now in its third year, ORCA OceanWatch encourages 'bridge crews and seafarers across the UK ferry & cruise network to collect sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) during a dedicated part of the summer'.

The project aims to raise awareness of the rich diversity of marine wildlife around the UK coastline.

ORCA are this year asking for members of the public to try to identify marine mammals from land and at sea and send them any sightings or pictures they capture of animals during the week of July 29th to August 6th.

The data will be used for ORCA’s incidental sightings database, as well as contributing to the Sea Watch Foundation’s National Whale & Dolphin Watch, a citizen science initiative that runs in parallel to ORCA OceanWatch each year.

The last ORCA survey on the Scillonian route identified six different species and almost 100 individuals and there will be two surveys taking place during this year’s programme.

ORCA Education Coordinator Anna Bunney said: “ORCA OceanWatch is a landmark programme across the UK ferry & cruise network and without the support of our amazing partners such as Isles of Scilly Steamship Group it wouldn’t be possible. The Isles of Scilly are home to some stunning marine wildlife and we hope to hear about members of the public spotting stunning whales, dolphins and porpoises and helping with our conservation effort.”

Sharon Sandercock, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “We are proud to have actively supported ORCA OceanWatch since the project began, and will be once again working to help the ORCA team collate vital information about marine wildlife for this year’s campaign, to help towards the conversation of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

“For many of our passengers on the Scillonian III ferry from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly, spotting dolphins, a whale or even a basking shark is a real highlight of their journey. We’d be grateful if passengers on crossings during the ORCA OceanWatch 2017 campaign can support this project by reporting any sightings, as well as both residents and holidaymakers staying on Scilly who might see wildlife from their vantage point on the islands.”

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group recently announced a partnership with ORCA to help protect whales and dolphins in the waters off Cornwall.

To find out more about ORCA OceanWatch 2017, visit www.orcaweb.org.uk/get-involved/OceanWatch and keep up to date using the hashtag #ORCAOceanWatch. To learn how to get involved in National Whale & Dolphin Watch, visit http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw/.

#wildlife #ISSC

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