- Education Coordinator Anna Bunney trains Captain Allan Scott and First Officer Robert Manson from NorthLink Ferries in Scotland
What is it?
ORCA OceanWatch is an exciting initiative aimed at involving seafarers in the collection of data on whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) that they encounter whilst out to sea.
The event aims to raise the profile of British and European cetaceans while collecting a large amount of data over a concentrated period of time. The data will also contribute to the National Whale and Dolphin Watch in collaboration with Sea Watch Foundation.
If you would like your vessels to be involved in ORCA OceanWatch 2017, please contact Anna Bunney on email@example.com. Full training for bridge crews are delivered by the ORCA team, and each ship is given a comprehensive training pack. ORCA OceanWatch 2017 will be taking place between the 29th July and the 6th August 2017.
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- Common dolphin taken from Cunard's Queen Elizabeth in the Strait of Gibraltar during OceanWatch 2015.
The second annual ORCA OceanWatch took place between the 23rd and 31st July 2016. An outstanding 750 sightings of cetaceans, totalling 2,526 individual animals were encountered, over six different UK and European sea regions.
- 63 bridge crew from 13 vessels were trained to record their observations and 47 volunteer ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyors and ORCA Wildlife Officers conducted surveys on a further 11 vessels.
- 13 ferry and cruise companies, consisting of 24 vessels, took part in ORCA OceanWatch 2016 (Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, Carnival UK (P&O Cruises and Cunard), DFDS, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Travel, John O’Groats Ferries, NorthLink, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Saga, Swan Hellenic, WightLink).
- The rarely sighted Sowerby's beaked whale sighted during ORCA OceanWatch 2016 in the Bay of Biscay
Read the ORCA OceanWatch 2016 report here: OceanWatch 2016
The first ORCA OceanWatch took place between the 25th July to the 2nd August 2015. Thanks to the effort of 105 crew members and 27 volunteer ORCA surveyors sailing throughout seven sea regions (North Sea, English Channel, Celtic Seas, Arctic Waters, Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast, Mediterranean and Wider Atlantic Ocean), over 432 hours of effort data were collected during the course of the nine-day ORCA OceanWatch event.
What did we see?
An outstanding 1,939 animals from 16 different species were recorded - harbour porpoises, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, white-beaked dolphins, striped dolphins, Risso's dolphins, Atlantic white-sided dolphins, pilot whales, Sei whale, fin whale, minke whales, northern bottlenose whales, humpback whale, blue whale, sperm whale and Cuvier's beaked whale!
Who is involved?
Thank you to all of our partners for taking part in ORCA OceanWatch.
The following companies took part in ORCA OceanWatch 2016: Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, Carnival UK (Cunard & P&O Ferries), DFDS Seaways, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Travel, John O'Groats Ferries, NorthLink Ferries, P&O Ferries, Portsmouth International Port, Red Funnel, Royal Navy, Saga, The Chamber of Shipping and WightLink.)
Thank you to the following ORCA OceanWatch partners for taking part in the project:
- ORCA patron Chris Packham with Anna Bunney, ORCA's Community Wildlife Officer, and representatives from Portsmouth International Port and Brittany Ferries, celebrating the success of ORCA OceanWatch 2015
- Bottlenose dolphin seen during OceanWatch 2015
Read the full report here: OceanWatch 2015
ORCA would like to thank Discover Ferries for their support and involvement in the ORCA OceanWatch project.
ORCA OceanWatch was launched through the Your Seas - People & Port project, which was generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund