Keep an eye on our oceans with Discover Ferries and ORCA OceanWatch this summer

Discover Ferries and many of its members are delighted to be supporting the ORCA OceanWatch from 29 July to 6 August 2017.

Now in its third year, leading marine conservation charity ORCA’s OceanWatch initiative encourages seafarers to identify and record sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) that they catch sight of whilst at sea. The project aims to both protect and raise awareness of the UK and Europe’s whale and dolphin populations and will give a snapshot of the incredibly diverse wildlife that can be found in our waters.

It will be all hands on deck for ferry crews and passengers, who will collect vital data on the species which will then be used to build a picture of the marine mammals living in UK & European waters. . Many ferry companies will provide handy spotters’ guides on board too and ORCA representatives will be on board some ships for the duration of the project and will talk to passengers who wish to learn more about these fascinating species.

During last year’s OceanWatch, an impressive 2,526 sightings were recorded spanning 14 different species, including the minke whale and the bottlenose dolphin. This year looks to surpass that number with more ships participating than ever before. Discover Ferries members Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, DFDS, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, and Wightlink are all taking part.

Bill Gibbons, director of Discover Ferries, said: “We are delighted to be working with ORCA OceanWatch. We feel that this collaboration will be hugely successful in promoting the extraordinary wildlife that the UK and Europe has to offer and will contribute to the protection of the cetaceans and their habitats by collecting valuable data at the same time. Travelling by ferry enables people to enjoy the scenery and watch out for wildlife as they sail by so it’s great that they can make a valuable contribution to the conservation of our seas by getting involved with the ORCA Ocean Watch project.”

Sally Hamilton, ORCA Director, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the ferry industry for their overwhelming support of this project. Discover Ferries and it’s members have been instrumental in making OceanWatch a success in the past three years and the data that crews collect will play a vital role in giving government, conservation groups and industry a clearer picture of how best to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK & European waters.”

To find out more about ORCA OceanWatch 2017, click here and follow the project’s progress on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ORCAOceanWatch