Fair Isle DR MPA Weekend June 2024

Tim Merrick @ Focal Plane Photo

What an incredible three days in Fair Isle filled with marine activities and fun! Here’s a recap of our amazing weekend:

Friday: 🐋 Whales and Dolphins with the Fair Isle school: Katie Cubbon, our DR MPA project officer, and Emma Steel from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, spent the day with the Fair Isle school children. Emma taught us about different whale and dolphin species and their communication methods like echolocation and signature whistles.

🎧 We then tested FIMRO’s new hydrophone at North Haven, to see if we could hear any whale or dolphin sounds for ourselves. Although we didn’t hear any whales or dolphins it was great to test out this new piece of kit and hear the different sounds of the ocean!

👽 Invasive Non-Native Species Demo: Neil demonstrated how to check the settlement base plate on the pontoon which was fortunately clear of any invasive non-native species.

🎤 Marine Research Talks: An evening of insightful talks at the Fair Isle community hall featuring:

• Emma Steel on Shorewatch

• Alex Penn from Fair Isle Bird Observatory on seabird monitoring

• Karen Hall (virtually) on cetacean sightings around Shetland

• Tanya Riley (recorded) from UHI Shetland on the Fair Isle benthic habitat project

Saturday: 🌧️Shorewatch taster session: Despite a wet and windy morning, hardy Shorewatchers received some basic training from Emma at South Lighthouse.

📏 Intertidal surveys: Unfortunately, the afternoon activities were cancelled due to poor weather, but this was a good opportunity for Katie, Susannah, and the Fair Isle Bird Observatory team to try out some intertidal monitoring methods. A few species of nudibranchs were recorded including Doto sp.

Sunday: 🦀Rockpooling: The weather turned in our favour! Over twenty-five enthusiastic rockpoolers took part. The most common finds were beadlet anemones, shore crabs, shrimp, water slaters, various algae species and more.

🔬Then it was back to the hall for seaweed identification, pressing and homebakes.

A massive thank you to everyone who participated with such enthusiasm! We can’t wait for the next Fair Isle DR MPA event. 🌊✨

📸 Take a look at the photos from the weekend below!

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