Fair Isle Cetaceans: Population and Distribution Monitoring

North Stacks

Cetaceans are important indicators of the state of the marine environment and have a key role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems.

Cetaceans provide a range of ecosystem services: preserving balance within marine and coastal food chains; reducing CO2 within our atmosphere; and boosting global economy. Understanding cetacean populations and distribution will help us to determine what impacts they face and what measures can be established to maintain and enhance their populations.

Surveys aim to gather information on the species presence in and around Fair Isle DR MPA. To use baseline distribution data to inform future activity in relation to marine industry (i.e fishing and marine development). To use evidence collected from continuous cetacean monitoring to inform marine management within the DR MPA as well as feeding into Shetland’s Regional Marine Plan and national datasets.

Cetacean sightings are monitored through WDC Shorewatch sites and by monitoring of cetaceans between Fair Isle and Shetland on the Good Sheperd to help understand spatial and temporal distribution of cetaceans around Fair Isle DR MPA.

Passive acoustic monitoring will be used to collect vocalisations to assess presence and absence of marine mammal species. Click data will be analysed alongside sightings data which will provide information on cetacean populations and usage of areas within and out with DR MPA boundary, assess ecosystem use to inform potential measures of marine management. To assess population trends and changes as a result of marine management measures

This project is funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery through the National Trust for Scotland’s Love our Nature project.

(c) Graham Saunders

(c) Alex Penn

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