THE Sea Watch Foundation is seeking volunteers to take part in the National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2020.

The event takes place between July 25 and August 2 and allows Sea Watch, a national marine environmental charity which has been running for 30 years and has a base at New Quay, to take direct action to improve the conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the seas around Britain and Ireland.

Sea Watch Foundation research studies of bottlenose dolphins helped lead to two areas in Cardigan Bay being recommended as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) for the species.

Since 2001, the organisation has monitored the semi-resident bottlenose dolphin population in Cardigan Bay, providing data for the Welsh Government through Natural Resources Wales.

Last year’s Watch revealed an impressive 13 separate species of whales and dolphins throughout British waters, and the highest (over 2,000) ever recorded number of cetacean sightings.

No previous experience is needed; anyone who is in the UK and near the sea during the event and wants to help can. All that people need to take part is safe access to the coast, patience, a lot of enthusiasm, binoculars, a copy of the Sea Watch recording forms and a cetacean identification guide (downloadable from the Sea Watch website).

“The most memorable sightings from last year’s Watch week included humpback whales in Cornwall and the Outer Hebrides; Northern bottlenose whales in the Inner Hebrides; beaked whales off the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, fin whales in the Outer Hebrides, and large pods of Atlantic white-sided dolphins off Freester in Shetland.”, said Dr Chiara Giulia Bertulli, sightings officer and lead organiser of the event for the Sea Watch Foundation.

By monitoring the numbers and locations of whales and dolphins, the group can gain valuable knowledge of the health of the marine environment and insight into the effects of chemical pollution, noise disturbance, over-fishing, accidental capture in fishing gear, and climate change.

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