NorthLink Ferries’ support of a new conservation initiative has proved successful, with five harbour porpoises, a striped dolphin and a pilot whale spotted in the first four months of the project by the ferry firm’s crewmembers.
The sightings, identified while NorthLink Ferries’ crew members travelled between the mainland and the northern isles, feed into a wider survey conducted by the marine mammal conservation charity ORCA. The charity partnered with shipping and ferry companies from across the UK to monitor and collect data on marine life around the coastline and adjoining waters.
Captain Stuart McCallum, Marine Manager at Serco NorthLink Ferries, said: “Marine life is extremely vast and varied in the North Sea and thanks to ORCA’s new conservation initiative we have been able to obtain a snapshot of whale, dolphin and porpoise presence in these waters.
“The on-board bridge teams are always on the lookout for marine wildlife and birds to help give passengers a more comprehensive picture of our native wildlife as they travel to and from the mainland.”
More than 10 NorthLink Ferries crewmembers aboard MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey undertook interactive training in July, which provided skills to identify species and scientifically record vital data, as part of ORCA OceanWatch 2015.
Speaking of the training and results, Community Wildlife Officer at ORCA, Anna Bunney, added: “OceanWatch 2015 was a real success and it is great to see the NorthLink Ferries crew putting all of their hard work and training into practice.
“We look forward to working alongside NorthLink Ferries in the near future and developing our partnership further.”