Risso’s dolphins and porpoises spotted at Sea Trust’s New Year’s Day porpoise watch
More than 70 people started 2020 with a sense of porpoise at a popular north Pembrokeshire cetacean spotting event.
Sea Trust’s New Year’s Day porpoise watch at Strumble Head attracted droves wildlife lovers, from babes in arms to grandparents and all ages in between.
Peering through binoculars onlookers were rewarded for their persistence with sightings of seals, porpoises and a pod of Risso’s dolphins, as well as an array of seabirds.
Among the animals sighted was Jupiter, a porpoise identifiable by marks on her dorsal fin and one of Sea Trust’s regulars in its ground-breaking Porpoise ID project.
As well as a good showing of porpoises, onlookers also spotted rare Risso’s dolphins.
“Rich Campbell had reported seeing the Risso’s the previous day and they have been showing on and off since mid-October but this was a real bonus,” said Sea Trust founder, Cliff Benson.
“A pod of six to eight Risso’s cruised past distant, but visible to the naked eye. Luckily we had supplied some binoculars to some of the people who did not have their own so I am pretty sure most people got a decent view. Later another distant smaller pod also was spotted. Porpoises were also showing well.”
This was Sea Trust’s 15th annual New Years Day Porpoise watch at Strumble Head.
“It’s always a bit nerve-wracking planning an event. Especially when the events are dependent on the weather and whether or not the focus of the event, in this case wild marine mammals, will actually turn up,” said Cliff.
“But seventy odd people had a great start to the New Year with seals and porpoises giving good views as well as Risso’s.”
For more information see Sea Trust’s Facebook page or seatrust.org.uk.
Sea Trust presents Porpoise Photo-ID project at World Marine Mammal Conference 2019
The conference hosted over 2,500 marine mammal scientists from around the globe.
Among them was Sea Trust project officer Holly Dunn who presented Sea Trust’s pioneering Porpoise Photo-ID Project; one of only four worldwide and the only one in the UK.
The conference was a spectacular opportunity for Sea Trust to show the world the photo-ID project, to meet and get advice from other researchers in the field, to make connections and to put Pembrokeshire’s porpoises on the map.
The project, which is currently funded by Enhancing Pembrokeshire, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Biodiversity Solutions, has been running since April 2017,
It started as a pilot project using local volunteers to gather data on individual porpoises at Strumble Head and since then has grown into a ground-breaking research project.
Sea Trust now has the world’s largest harbour porpoise catalogue in the world, surveys four different sites and is achieving results which were previously unheard of.
“We are learning things about porpoises that have never been discovered before, such as residency patterns and family structure,” said Holly. “All because we have decided to study individual porpoises rather than the population as a whole.”
Holly received lots of positive feedback and praise for how well Sea Trust is doing, considering porpoises are one of the hardest marine mammal species to photograph and identify.
“I have learnt so much and been so inspired by all the amazing research on display, all with the aims of enhancing our knowledge and understanding of these magnificent animals and ultimately conserving them and their surrounding environments,” she said.
“I leave Barcelona with my head held high, so proud of the Porpoise Photo-ID Project and Sea Trust and inspired and determined to achieve more great results in the foreseeable future.”
Sea Trust secures funding for a very important porpoise
Marine conservation group Sea Trust has received £24,600 from the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund for their “Outreach with a porpoise” project. The new project forms part of Sea Trust’s ongoing “Peoples Porpoise Project” which involves groundbreaking harbour porpoise photo-ID research. With this new funding Sea Trust aims to spread awareness of the marine life around the Pembrokeshire coast throughout the community by hosting community events such as ‘Porpoise Picnics’ and visiting schools with the Whale Workshop’s Marine Wildlife Roadshow. The roadshow is designed to educate school children on the marine life we have present in UK waters, their importance, their threats and how to conserve these amazing animals and our seas.
Members of the local community will have an opportunity to volunteer with the project and directly contribute to vital scientific research. Project officer Holly Dunn says “Volunteers benefit directly from the project, accessing nature on a weekly basis and working as a team towards the conservation of a very important species. In previous years we have seen vast improvements in volunteer mental health and well-being and individual personal and professional development.”
The project will educate the community about the precious marine life present in Pembrokeshire waters, encourage them to be proud of it and in turn protect it. Long-term monitoring surveys will help ensure that the porpoises and other marine life are protected and will remain abundant around the Pembrokeshire coast for future generations to enjoy.
Commenting on the award, project officer Holly Dunn said: “It is so great to have this opportunity thanks to National Lottery players to show the local community the amazing wildlife that we have just on our doorstep. This new funding also gives us a chance to share the results of our research with a wider audience which will assist in our overall goal of protecting the harbour porpoise population in Pembrokeshire.”
Cyllid wedi ei ddiogelu ar gyfer Porpoise pwysig
Mae grŵp cadwraeth forol Sea Trust wedi derbyn £24,600 wrth yr National Lottery cronfa dreftadaeth ar gyfer yr prosiect ‘Outreach with a Porpoise. Mae’r prosiect newydd yn rhan or prosiect parhaus ‘People’s Porpoise Project’ sydd yn cynnwys ymchwil lluniau adnabod (‘photo ID’) Harbour Porpoise. Gyda’r cyllid Newydd bydd yr sea Trust yn anelu at codi ymwybyddiaeth yr cymuned lleol o’r bywyd gwyllt morol sydd yn byw ogwmpas arfordir Sir Benfro trwy trefnu a rhedeg digwyddiadau cymunedol fel ‘Porpoise picnics’ ac ymweld ag ysgolion lleol gyda’r ‘Whale Workshop’s Marine Wildlife show’. Dyluniwyd yr sioe I ddysgu plant am yr bywyd gwyllt morol sydd yn byw yn môr yr DU, pwysigrwydd yr anifeiliaid, beth sydd yn bygythu nhw a sut yr ydym yn gallu edrych ar ol yr bywyd gwyllt pwysig hyn a’r môr.
Bydd aelodau yr cymuned lleol yn gael yr cyfle I gwirfoddolu gyda’r prosiect a cyfrannu I’r ymchwil pwysig. Dywedodd Holly Dunn, Swyddog prosiect, “Mae’r gwirfoddolwyr budd yn uniongyrchol o’r prosiect trwy gwario amser yn natur yn wythnosol a gweithio mewn tîm tuag at yr cadwraeth rhwyogaeth pwysig iawn. Mewn blynyddoed blaenorol mae’r prosiect wedi gweld gwelliannau enfawr yn iechyd meddwl a lles gwirfoddolwyr a datblygiad personol and profesiynol rhai unigolion.”
Bydd yr prosiect dysgu’r cymuned lleol am yr bywyd gwyllt morol sy’n byw yn yr môr ogwmpas Sir Benfro, annog pobl I fod yn balch o’r bywyd gwyllt morol ac I edrych ar ol e. Bydd arolygon tymer hir yn helpu sicrhau bydd yr Propoise a bywyd gwyllt morol arall yn cael ei amddifyn a cadw ar gyfer cenedlaethau’r dyfodol I mwynhau.
Sylw Holly Dunn, Swyddog Prosiect, ar yr gwobr oedd, “Diolch I’r National Lottery rydym yn cael yr cylfe grêt I dangos I’r cymuned lleol am yr anifeiliaid gwyllt rhyfeddol rydyn ni yn gael ar ein trothwy. Mae’r cyllid newydd yn rhoi’r cyfle ini I rhannu’r canlyniadau o ein ymchwil gyda cynulleidfaoedd ehangach a fydd yn helpu ni gyda ein nod I amddifyn y Harbour Porpoise yn Sir Benro.”
Sea Trust’s Citizen Scientists secure Enhancing Pembrokeshire funding
Sea Trust, a marine conservation group based in Goodwick have received £16,772 from Pembrokeshire County Council’s Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant. The grant will fund a new project titled “Citizen Science with a Porpoise”. The project which takes place throughout Fishguard and Goodwick and the Pencaer area, recruits and trains volunteers to conduct porpoise photo ID surveys around the local area. The data collected will add to Sea Trust’s existing database contributing to their ground-breaking porpoise research.
The project aims to enhance the community by providing an opportunity for individuals to work together on an environmental project which benefits their mental and physical health, social life, employability skills and much more. The project also introduces the community to the special wildlife we have on our doorstep, this makes the area more attractive to tourists. The project is also partially funded by Valero, Biodiversity Solutions and the Nineveh Trust. Sea Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank all their funders and the community for their support. Visitors to our aquarium and gift shop have all contributed to this new project.
Three local community members are showing their support for Sea Trust by taking part in the “Sea Trust Swimathon”. Ryan Davies, Callum Shaw and Emma Westoby will swim from Newport to Goodwick beach, a distance of approximately 8 miles all in aid of Sea Trust. If you want to show your support you can sponsor the team by visiting gofundme.com/sea-trustswimathon or follow the link on Sea Trust Facebook page. Donation boxes and sponsor forms have also been distributed throughout Fishguard and Goodwick, including at the Ocean Lab, Goodwick Parrog. The swim will take place during Sea Trust’s Ocean Guardians Event (weather permitting) on 18th August. Head on down to Goodwick Parrog to show your support in person.