Last Season Excellent For Spotting Whales And Dolphins

A Risso's Dolphin

The Wildlife Trust worker who monitors marine life from the Scillonian III says last year was a great season for spotting whales and dolphins.

Paul Semmens says that, while spring was fairly quiet, from mid summer through to the end of autumn brought large numbers of Common Dolphins, as well as Risso’s Dolphins and Minke Whales.

However, Paul says it was a poor year for seeing Basking Sharks with only a dozen or so spotted. This could be due to lower numbers of the plankton on which they feed, caused by the very cold winter last year.

Paul says the animals that get the best reaction from passengers are undoubtedly the dolphins, schools of which can reach up to a hundred.

He says that, unlike whales, which tend to surface just once, the dolphins like to put on a show.

Paul takes accurate records, including GPS locations, of the wildlife he spots from the Scillonian III.

This data is used as supporting evidence for the Marine Conservation Zone designations and the data is also sent to a national organisation called Marine Life that monitors Dolphin and Whale numbers around our shores.

In a separate series of surveys taken from the Scillonian III, the marine charity ORCA reported 247 sightings of Whales and Dolphins this year, including Harbour Porpoise, Common, Bottlenose and Risso’s Dolphins and Minke Whale as well as Basking Sharks, Grey Seals, Sunfish (Mola Mola) and a wide variety of seabirds and migrating birds.

The ORCA survey is now in its 3rd year.