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Watching dolphins from the beach in Scotland: WDC/Charlie Phillips

Lockdown is lifting and the beach is calling – if you see a whale or dolphin how will you behave?

We have all become more aware of giving one another space and respecting social distancing....
Risso's dolphins are captured in Taiji hunt. Image: LIA and Dolphin Project

Heartbreak and practical action – the horror of the Taiji dolphin hunts and one Japanese activist’s determination

Back in November, I shared my heartache at the drama unfolding in the waters off...
Common Dolphin

Goodbye Bycatch – what have we achieved and what’s next?

Thank you to everyone who's got involved with our campaign to stop dolphins, porpoises and...
Haul of sea bass on French pair trawlers, Le Baron and Magellan, fishing in the English channel. Greenpeace is currently in the English channel protesting against pelagic pair trawling due to the high numbers of dolphin deaths associated with it.

Seaspiracy

Ali and Lucy Tabrizi's Netflix film Seaspiracy is compelling viewing for anyone who cares for...
Porpoise, Conwy Wales. WDC

Why do porpoises and dolphins find it so difficult to avoid fishing nets?

When a dolphin or porpoise is caught or entangled in fishing gear it's known as...
WDC NA

Reflection – what this remarkable whale teaches us about humpbacks and their fascinating lives

Reflection, like all humpback whales, was born with a unique black and white pattern on...

Meet the brainiacs of the underwater world – deep thinkers with intricate emotional lives

Whales and dolphins have big brains, and large brained beings have a few things in...

Growing up with the amazing Adelaide Port River dolphins

Squeak, one of the Port River dolphins If you are able to make a donation,...

Massive wind farms approved in Moray Firth waters

On Wednesday, 19th March, the Scottish government announced that two huge wind farms will be built in the Moray Firth in Scotland. WDC are supportive of a move away from fossil fuels (although this decision does not mean that is a certainty) and wind currently seems a realistic alternative. But we are anxious about the potential impacts on the marine wildlife in the region, especially during the intensive phase of noisy construction.

Middlegrunden Wind FarmThis decision has not come as a surprise to us. WDC has been engaging with the government, developers and scientists involved since the projects were first announced several years ago. We responded to the public consultation, raising our concerns, and objecting unless measures were put in place to monitor marine mammals and mitigate any potential impacts.

There are uncertainties – big ones – and this is our biggest challenge. We don’t know much about what impacts these large wind developments might have on the dolphin, porpoise and whale populations that live in the Moray Firth. Our colleagues, such as the RSPB, who specialise in birds and fish share our concerns. Dolphins, seals, seabirds and some species of fish (for example salmon) are offered a high level of protection through European law. Scientists have hypothesised that there will be some impacts on the bottlenose dolphins in the ‘short-term’ (the duration of construction – likely to be many years) but that populations will recover after that.

Only with a well thought through and funded monitoring plan, effective noise reduction and good reporting will we be able to understand if the scientific predictions are accurate.

Details were not provided in the announcement or supporting documentation for Beatrice or MORL  developments. Monitoring and mitigation plans will be developed over the coming months, and WDC shall be scrutinising these closely.

In parallel, we are continuing our campaigning and research underpinning the putting in place of a coherent network of marine protected areas. A Search Location for minke whales has been identified in the Moray Firth (this possible MPA was submitted to the government by WDC back in 2012). The question we are posing is ‘How do these government processes join up?’