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No more dolphin, porpoise and whale deaths in UK fishing gear – join us in saying ‘Goodbye Bycatch’

More than 1,000 dolphins, porpoises and whales die in fishing gear in UK seas every...

Whales and dolphins have flippin’ awesome support bubbles

Friends and family all get involved in bringing up the younger generation of whales and...
two underwater no border

Joy and sadness watching Hector’s dolphins in their wild place

The widening estuary is deserted...  it was not always like this - a rusting trypot...
A mother and baby Commerson's

A breath of fresh air – why I love studying beautiful Commerson’s dolphins

Lockdown in Argentina has been long and tough and so I was excited when restrictions...
© V. Mignon

Covid and conservation – how we protected whales and dolphins together in 2020

© V. Mignon As we begin a new year, our chair of trustees, Lisa Drewe,...

Robotic dolphins – an alternative for the captive dolphin industry?

A deceptively realistic robotic dolphin, made headlines recently, causing people to ask whether robots like...

Save the whales, save the world – convincing governments that whales will help us fight the climate crisis

Whales and dolphins are awesome. They are intelligent, self-aware, socially complex and they need and...
Michelle

What am I grateful for in 2020? Whales, dolphins, and you

Like many other people, my 2020 has included many phases -  from the incredibly optimistic...

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?’