Porpoise Surveys with Shetland Community Wildlife Group

Alice Walters's picture

The Shetland Community Wildlife Group (SCWG), an initiative created by the Marine Spatial Planning section at Shetland UHI with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, have recently launched a Shetland Harbour Porpoise survey.
In collaboration with Shorewatch and NatureScot, we are encouraging volunteers to collect data on porpoise sightings at the Shorewatch site at Mousa Sound and the two new SCWG Shorewatch sites at South Nesting Bay and Quendale Bay.
These surveys can be completed alongside a Shorewatch survey. We would encourage you to first carry out your 10min Shorewatch and, if porpoises have been sighted (either on your 10min watch or as a casual sighting), to fill in one of the SCWG porpoise datasheets to give a little more information on the areas the porpoise were using and their activity and behaviour.
Harbour porpoise are regularly spotted in Shetland waters in small groups and sometimes in large aggregations that are not seen in many other areas in the UK. However, porpoises are very under recorded and very little is known about these aggregations and any seasonal variations in the areas the porpoise are using.
We will be able to use this data locally to update the Shetland Islands Regional Marine Plan, a policy framework to assist in decision making and managing human activity in the marine environment and by the other organisations involved to better understand the lifestyle and behaviour of this protected species which will assist in developing conservation measures.
More information can be found on our website and you can get in touch with Kate Allan, project coordinator, at shetlandcommunitywildlife@outlook.com.