Businesses encouraged to join in marine conservation initiative

OCEANWATCH From left: Anna Bunney, James Sinclair, Lucy Houghton, Sarah Houghton, Ben Donaldson, Megan Hanson and Eleanor Jones.
OCEANWATCH From left: Anna Bunney, James Sinclair, Lucy Houghton, Sarah Houghton, Ben Donaldson, Megan Hanson and Eleanor Jones.

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Businesses are being encouraged to participate in marine conservation in a joint initiative between Ports-mouth International Port and Portsmouth-based whale and dolphin conservation charity ORCA.

Final preparations are being made to host the first ever OceanWatch Week between July 25 and August 2 and businesses are being urged to get on board with the initiative.

ORCA OceanWatch Week will see crews on ships coming and going from Portsmouth and other UK ports recording sightings of cetaceans (the collective name for whales, dolphins and porpoises).

The training process has been underway to train bridge crews on how to identify and record their sightings which they will send back to ORCA.

From these reports a picture will develop of where the much-loved marine mammals are living.

Sally Hamilton, UK Director of ORCA, said: ‘OceanWatch Week will be the offshore component to the national Whale and Dolphin Watch Week, which is run every year by the Sea Watch Foundation.

‘We’ve enlisted the help of local sea-faring businesses that use Portsmouth International Port and ports along the South of England.

‘It’s a fantastic way for the public and local businesses and organisations who use the sea to get actively involved in marine conservation.’

Passengers on board Brittany Ferries’ services to Northern Spain from Ports-mouth International Port stand a good chance of spotting whales and dolphins, with the deep waters of the Bay of Biscay being a rich environment for cetaceans.

The company has long partnered with ORCA to promote the protection of marine mammals, and is joined for OceanWatch Week by a long list of other operators.

During OceanWatch Week, teams of ORCA marine mammal surveyors on board ships operated by companies, including DFDS Seaways and Brittany Ferries, will also be recording sightings.

Passengers sailing from Portsmouth International Port will also be encouraged to take part, with a special spotter’s guide being given out for free.

Throughout the summer months anyone travelling from Portsmouth will also be invited to take part in an exciting competition.

Passengers are being asked to post their pictures celebrating the sea on the Port’s social media pages, with the hashtag #Pipsea.

‘The photos can be of anything that highlights the beauty of the ocean, the variety of creatures living in it, and the amazing resources it provides.

Judges will sift through all entries at the end of the summer season with the winner being awarded a brand-new GoPro action camera.

For more information about ORCA OceanWatch visit orcaweb.org.uk/get-involved/Oceanwatch.