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National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2021 is coming!

This year’s Sea Watch National Whale and Dolphin Watch takes place from Saturday 24th July to Sunday 1st August 2021 and we’re asking members of the public to help.

Now in its 20th year, Sea Watch Foundation’s annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch event is just around the corner, and more important than ever. From 24th July to 1st August, Sea Watch Foundation invites you to take part in a national event that seeks to take a snapshot of the incredible cetacean life around our coastlines!

Sea Watch Foundation has been operating for over 30 years, delivering on its mission to aid in the conservation of whales, dolphins, and porpoises through monitoring, research, and education. Sea Watch’s cetacean sightings database is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and its decades-long research in areas such as Cardigan Bay have led to the formation of Special Areas of Conservation for bottlenose dolphins, just one example of the direct impact of their work.

In a time of increasing anthropogenic and human pressures on the marine environment, understanding the status of cetaceans and other marine mammals in British and Irish waters is more important than ever. Recording sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises helps us to understand their distribution, diversity, and behaviour, which contributes to ongoing research by Sea Watch Foundation and other organisations. Last year, during the week of National Whale and Dolphin Watch, 1,348 sightings were recorded nationally; that’s an average of one sighting per hour for every site surveyed! We have over 30 recorded species of cetacean in our waters, so this year, why not discover what’s in your area?

No experience is needed to participate – just patience, enthusiasm, and some binoculars. If you’re going to be close to the sea during the week of 24th July to 1st August, get involved!

To register your watch, simply email nwdw2021@gmail.com. You will be provided with our Sea Watch Foundation recording forms to record your effort and sightings during your watch, or you can also record data using our new free Sea Watcher App, available on the App Store. You can also download a species identification guide via our website for help identifying species during your watch!

Currently we have 412 confirmed watches, which you can view here. If you’d like a bit more support, or this is your first time surveying, we also have virtual training sessions available, which can be booked by emailing the relevant address. Training sessions will cover all the basics of cetacean ID and how to collect data effectively.

Please remember if you are conducting watches, to do so within any local Covid-19 guidelines to keep yourselves and others safe.

If you register a watch with us, and send back your data to us before August 15th at nwdw2021@gmail.com, you could also be in with a chance to win some amazing prizes in our raffle, kindly donated by our 11 event sponsors Rip Curl, Made of Sundays, Dani Williams Illustration, The Felt Meadow, Heron on the Roof, Falcon Boats, Lee Renée Jewellery, Deep Blue Tales, Padstow Sealife Safaris, Giuditta Migiani Art, and Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing.

Casual sightings are also welcome throughout the week, but will not be entered into the prize draw. You can submit any casual records using the online sightings form.

The team at Sea Watch will offer online training and advice on how to take part: https://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2021-online-training/

Sponsors have also donated amazing prizes for people who participate in the NWDW watches: https://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/national-whale-dolphin-watch-2021-raffle/

Visit https://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw/ for details, or contact nwdw2021@gmail.com.

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