We’re excited to be supporting a brand new Whale and Dolphin Conservation Shorewatch site in North Berwick! WDC Shorewatch is a network of volunteers trained to monitor whales and dolphins at sites around the Scottish coastline, raising awareness and capturing vital data to protect these amazing species.
What is a Shorewatch?
A Shorewatch is a 10 minute whale and dolphin survey carried out by a trained volunteer at one of the Shorewatch sites around the Scottish coast. Every 10 minute watch completed by volunteers is recorded, even if a whale or dolphin was not sighted.
Scotland is a brilliant place to see whales, dolphins, and porpoises (known collectively as 'cetaceans'). Over 28 species of cetacean can be seen in Scottish waters, and around 20 of these are spotted regularly. This includes iconic species like bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, minke whales, and orcas. Sometimes we’re even lucky enough to spot ocean giants like fin and sei whales!
Why is Shorewatch important?
With the help of an incredible team of Shorewatch volunteers around Scotland, the team at WDC Shorewatch have been monitoring cetaceans for more than 15 years.
The data collected is used to better understand the movement of coastal species, highlighting key changes in distribution and behaviour. This helps to build vital understanding of key habitats, allowing WDC to identify areas of particular importance (hot spots) and enabling them to focus conservation efforts in those places. Shorewatch data also helps to determine longer-term trends, helping WDC to inform the decision makers influencing marine protection and developments.
Find out more about WDC’s brilliant work to protect cetaceans and create healthy seas here.
Who can become a Shorewatch volunteer?
Anyone can become a Shorewatch volunteer! All Shorewatch volunteers attend a free, virtual, full-day training course led by the cetacean experts at WDC. During this, they learn how to identify the common whale, dolphin and porpoise species found in Scottish waters and find out how to carry out a 10-minute Shorewatch.
How is Scottish Seabird Centre supporting WDC Shorewatch in North Berwick?
Our team will also be working closely with our friends at WDC to provide follow-up, in-person training and support to the Shorewatch volunteers watching out from the North Berwick site. We hope that we can help to make this site as accessible as possible, opening-up the opportunity to volunteer with WDC Shorewatch, collect valuable data, and see whales and dolphins in the wild to even more people.
The Scottish Seabird Centre will also fund, host, and maintain the North Berwick Shorewatch kit, ensuring that Shorewatch volunteers have easy access to everything they need to carryout regular watches.