ORCA prepares for OceanWatch 2016 – the marine equivalent of RSPB Birdwatch

13th December 2016

“From the Scilly Isles in the South to the Shetland Islands in the North, ORCA Oceanwatch has the UK covered”

OceanWatch promises to deliver a more comprehensive programme of whale and dolphin spotting in 2016. Last year nearly 2,000 sightings of 16 species of whale and dolphin were recorded from ships during the nine day survey and this year more vessels and shipping organisations are set to be involved.

Crews from 12 companies will be scanning seas from Monday 25 July. Bridge teams are currently being trained to record sightings, to help build a record of whale, dolphin and porpoise presence and distribution in UK waters and beyond.

“From the Scilly Isles in the South to the Shetland Islands in the North, ORCA Oceanwatch has the UK covered,” said Sally Hamilton, UK Director of ORCA. “Thanks to the support of ferry companies, cruise ships and others we’re now able to look even beyond our waters with surveys from ships in the Arctic and Mediterranean.

“We’re expecting to build one of the most detailed snapshots of our marine wildlife, as well as getting the public and local businesses and organisations who use the sea, actively involved in marine conservation.”

ORCA OceanWatch aims to collect as much data as possible over the course of nine days to create a snapshot of cetacean (collective name for whales, dolphins and porpoises) activity in UK and adjoining waters.

New partners for 2016 include P&O cruise ships the Orcadia and Ventura, Red Funnel and Swan Hellenic. They join a long list of established OceanWatch participants include Brittany Ferries, Carnival UK (Cunard and P & O Cruises), DFDS Seaways, Saga, NorthLink and Isles of Scilly Travel.

“We are delighted to be part of this important project that will contribute to the conservation of these beautiful sea creatures,” said Nigel Wonnacott, Brittany Ferries director of communications. “We fully support the work of ORCA and this important OceanWatch programme, and we wish captains and crew of every vessel involved the best of luck in their cetacean spotting.”


ORCA OceanWatch forms part of the successful community based project – “Your Seas – People & Port”. It promotes the importance of recording wildlife sightings to the public and local businesses, and helps involve them in this participative project.  This in turn gives the general public further reason to care about and protect their marine environment by actively involving them in creating a more comprehensive picture of our marine wildlife.

For more information about ORCA OceanWatch go to:


Notes for editors

Press contact: Anna Bunney

Tel: 023 9283 2565 Email: [email protected]


  • Photo and ORCA logo attached, images of whales and dolphins available
  • ORCA is one of Europe’s leading whale and dolphin charities, dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoise in UK and European waters.


(Image file)