Author: CBMWC Officer

A study investigating the effects of human water usage on Tursiops truncatus abundance and behaviour in New Quay

Matthew Jones MSc Conservation Biology, University of Derby


Humans are ever increasing in their use of the world’s oceans. This has been seen to have negative and detrimental effects on the environment with effects on organisms in all levels of the food chain. Cetaceans are subject to many threats to their populations and long term survival and coastal areas inhabited by Tursiops truncatus often have an enhanced vulnerability over the open ocean. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of human water usage in New Quay bay, Cardigan Bay West Wales on the T. truncatus population and whether sea conditions can cause observer error. The T.truncatus population in New Quay were observed over the month of June (30 days) to record their abundance and interactions with boats. The results showed that there was a statistical significant difference between sea state and number of T.truncatus observed. There was no statistical significant difference found between abundance of boats and abundance of T.truncatus. There was no statistical significant difference found between boat types and T.truncatus abundance. There was no statistical significant difference between distance of boat interaction and change in T.truncatus behaviour. There was no statistical significant difference between distance of interaction with boat and type of T.truncatus behaviour. There was no statistical significant difference between boat type and change in T.truncatus behaviour. There was no statistical significant difference between boat type and type of T.truncatus behaviour. There was a statistically significant difference in change in T.truncatus behaviour with boat action. There was no statistical significant difference between boat action and all types of behaviour. These results suggested that sea state affects T.truncatus sightings. It appears that T.truncatus behaviour and abundance is not affected by type of boat, number of boats or proximity to T.truncatus. Type of behaviour does however appear to affect T.truncatus.

Download the full dissertation here.


Winner of the CBMWC dolphin drawing competition

Beau 139. Picture copyright Steve Hartley/CBMWC

Throughout the summer we were running a dolphin drawing competition in our ground floor education and activity room, which was newly opened this year. Jessica Clark’s (aged 5) lovely drawing of a dolphin catching a fish was chosen as the winner by Steph and Beth, our volunteers who had been running the activities during the holidays. The prize was to name a dolphin and lucky number 139 has been renamed Beau. First seen and photographed in 2005 Beau has two calves that we know of – 222 first seen in 2006 and 235 in 2010. Between 2005-2011 she has been seen 14 times and this year she was seen on 28th June near Cwm Tydu.

WhaleFest 2012

Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, Brighton, UK

Join Planet Whale for the world’s biggest celebration of wild whales and dolphins! After the huge success of WhaleFest 2011, this year’s event is being held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole – the very place where the world voted 30 years ago to stop hunting whales. This historic anniversary is attracting big media interest and it’s an unmissable opportunity to inspire people about whales, dolphins and our oceans like never before. It’s a global-scale event, packed with life-sized whales, virtual whale watch trips, fun family activities, celebrity speakers and more. What’s more it’s the culmination of a whole week – ‘WhaleFest Fringe!’ – of music, arts and cultural activities themed around whales and dolphins, that’s backed by Visit Britain and Visit Brighton.

There are also two unmissable pre-WhaleFest conferences open to everybody with a passion for whales and dolphins and a desire to do something to help them:

Thurs 25-Fri 26 Oct – World Whale Conference
Also at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, it’s time for everybody with a passion for cetaceans to play an important role in their future. Members of the public (novices welcome!), whale and dolphin charities, government agencies, and businesses will gather for the first time to discuss how to help whales and dolphins through a new global campaign with widespread appeal to the public! There will be celebrity keynote speakers, a major campaign launch, and media announcements.

Thurs 25-Fri 26 Oct – World Whale & Dolphin Watch Operators Conference
It’s time to give the global whale and dolphin watching industry a voice – starting with the first ever World Whale & Dolphin Watch Operators Conference! This gathering of whale and dolphin watching businesses from around the world will be a fantastic opportunity to form a new alliance, share ideas, and learn from the best practitioners in the business. The conference will focus on helping whale watch businesses to be more sustainable, and more profitable, than ever before!

Buy your WhaleFest tickets here and help raise funds for CBMWC – for every ticket purchased using this link, 15% of the ticket price will be donated to CBMWC. Thank you for your support.

To find out more about WhaleFest and the two conferences visit

Natasha Massey, Highsted Grammar School, 20-24th August 2012

My week of work experience at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre was truly amazing. I saw dolphins from the second I arrived on the Friday afternoon, even from the car park! I started my work experience on the Monday morning where everyone was so welcoming which made the experience a lot less daunting. I was really lucky with all of my land watches where I saw dolphins every time, we were also lucky to see a sunfish and seal from land! Even working in the centre and education was good fun and the volunteers taught me how to make bookings through the phone and help sell the merchandise. I also helped update the website and facebook page with the recent sightings! My favourite part of the week was the two boat trips I went on, they were both amazing and the dolphins came so close to the boat leaping and jumping everywhere it really was brilliant! It was great talking to the volunteers about what they are studying at university and where they go etc, I have always wanted to be a marine biologist but now I’m also considering zoology so I have a lot wider choice, thank you! The week really was great and I’d love to come back in the future, I enjoyed everything I did and really didn’t want to leave, thank you so much once again!

Eleanor Johnson, Stratford-upon-Avon grammar school, 30th July-3rd August 2012

Within moments of arriving at New Quay and spotting three bottlenose dolphins in the harbour, I knew it was going to be a good week and it certainly was! The welcome I received from Laura and all the volunteers was fantastic and their friendliness and willingness to help me out was great. I am hoping to study Marine Biology at University and so it was very relevant spending my week here and also very useful talking to many of the volunteers who are at University as I could talk to them about their course and University.

I was very impressed by the fact that I was able to have a go at basically all the jobs that the volunteers carry out at CBMWC which made it much more exciting than most work experience placements where you are limited as to what you can do. Being able to carry out the land survey on the harbour wall was a great experience and by the end of the week I had learnt how to fill it all in. This included the location of sightings, their behaviour, encounters and responses to boats as well as the weather conditions, sea state and wind direction. It was interesting learning about the code of conduct and seeing if boats complied with it when encountering dolphins.  I knew only a little bit about dolphins before coming here and so now I feel more knowledgeable about their behaviour and characteristics. It was good to go through the whole process of collecting the data and then inputting this same data into the database later on. This made me feel that I really took an active part in the research they carry out at CBMWC.

The highlight of my week was going out on the boat trip as we were able to see two bottlenose dolphins right up close to the boat which was amazing! I am very pleased I was able to go out on a boat trip so thank you! My week also ended well being on land watch seeing many dolphins very close to the harbour wall as well as an Atlantic grey seal which was a funny moment as Sophie was sure that she had attracted it in with her bright blue wellies!

It was a very enjoyable week and I would love to go back there, thank you!

Chloe Hatton, Blessed William High School, Staffordshire, 16-25th July 2012

Work experience with CBMWC was brilliant! Every volunteer I worked with was really friendly and made the experience a lot less daunting. I’ve always wanted to study marine biology, and I was given some really helpful advice about university and other work experience from them. Thanks everyone! They were also happy to explain all about the wildlife which we were seeing, how to work within the centre, and how to record sightings – which I did just about get the hang of! Every day on my land surveys at least two bottlenose dolphins were seen from the harbour wall, which was amazing in itself, but the highlight of my week was getting out on Sulaire for a boat trip. The water was really calm and we were lucky enough to spot a small group of dolphins, a jellyfish and a seal, as well as lots of seabirds. Yay! One afternoon was also spent rock-pooling for the tank in the centre, and we were pretty excited to find a few fish, lots of hermit crabs and even a dogfish egg which I wish I could be there to watch as it hatches! Towards the end of my work experience the education centre also opened, and it was really interesting to see the work that was done in there too.
Overall it was an amazing eight days, I’ll always remember the experience and I’d love to come back again to volunteer in a few years time. Thank you!

2012 All Day Cetacean Survey Trips – Date changes

CBMWC are teaming up again this year with Dolphin Survey Boat Trips and Friends of Cardigan Bay to carry out some all day cetacean surveys throughout Cardigan Bay. This is your chance to join a Dolphin Survey Boat Trip aboard MV Sulaire with scientific teams from both organisations to see some fantastic marine life and contribute to dolphin conservation in Cardigan Bay as well as the opportunity to join a team of experts!

2012 dates:

Due to unforeseen circumstances we have had change some of the pre-set dates for these surveys. The final dates are shown below:

2012 dates:
Saturday 16th June
Saturday 30th June
Monday 9th July
Saturday 28th July
Monday 6th August
Saturday 18th August
Wednesday 29th August
Saturday 22nd September
Wednesday 3rd October
Saturday 20th October
Wednesday 31st October

Please note in addition we will also be running all day cetacean surveys at short notice to take advantage of any ideal weather conditions. If you would like to be included on a mailing list to be notified of these short notice surveys then please contact CBMWC on with your email address. Also keep an eye on our website, Facebook page, Twitter feeds.

For more details and to book your place on one of these unique boat trips please call CBMWC on 01545 560032 between 10am and 4pm. The cost is £55 per person for the day, payable in advance. Full refunds will be given if trips are cancelled by CBMWC. Places must be booked in advance due to limited spaces. All trips will depart from New Quay harbour and will last approximately 8 hours (occasionally longer depending on survey route for the day). Trip details will be confirmed upon booking.

Vessel information
Sulaire is a 33ft modern charter vessel licensed and insured to carry 14 people. She is equipped with the latest electronic and safety equipment. There is a toilet on board and a part sheltered deck area.

Hot drinks will be provided but please bring your own food, warm clothing, binoculars, sensible shoes and don’t forget your camera!

Please remember that these are wild animals, sightings cannot be guaranteed and that you are joining a scientific survey.

National Marine Week 28 July-12 August

Join CBMWC as we celebrate the Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine fortnight.

There’s lot going on at CBMWC, so why not come and visit? You could join our volunteers on their daily land watches from New Quay harbour wall as they survey the area for dolphin activity. Our volunteers are there every day from 9am to 5pm and can answer your questions and help you spot the dolphins.

If you fancy a boat trip to see the beautiful Ceredigion coastline and amazing wildlife, buy your ticket in our visitor centre and have a look at our displays while you are there. And don’t forget to check out our rock pool aquarium tank which is bursting with life!

If you’ve got children and are looking for a good way to entertain them this summer, then visit our education and activity room on the ground floor. We’ve all sorts of fun and intersting activities going on – design your own sea creature; try your hand at dolphin ID; work out what’s trash and what’s treasure from things our volunteers have found on the beach and check out our plankton cam live! Entrance is free and activities vary daily.

We hope to see you soon!

Paige Harrison, Kingsmead Technology College, Staffordshire, 25-29th June 2012

Spending my week work experience with Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had! I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist so when I saw the chance of working with marine animals I took it. While I was there I saw a number of bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic grey seals and a variety of seabirds. I learnt so many different facts and information about all the animals in New Quay. While I was there I did a number of different tasks but the most exciting part was when I was on one of the boat trips where I was lucky enough to see loads of bottlenose dolphins and quite a few Atlantic grey seals. The best part was when a bottlenose dolphin came right up close to the boat, swimming underneath us. I also enjoyed going rock pooling as it was really fun and I enjoyed searching for the different animals which were in the rock pools. I also enjoyed the land surveys as we had really good weather during my week so we were able to spot the bottlenose dolphins much more clearly and although we had a bit of a cold day on Friday the Musto coat I borrowed kept me really warm! Everyone was really helpful and explained to me clearly what I had to do. I hope to come down again in the summer to do some more volunteer work and hopefully again in the future. I would like to thank everyone who helped me and gave me the experience of a lifetime! I hope to see you all again soon.

CBMWC’s Marine Team wins New Quay rowing fun day

On Sunday 1st July CBMWC’s project officer Laura Mears, science officer Sarah Perry and volunteers Rob Smith and Matt Jones took to the water, not on Sulaire but in a Celtic long boat to take part in New Quay Community Rowing Club’s fun day. Initially hoping for nothing more than not to be the slowest team as none of the team members had ever rowed before, the Marine Team were actually the fastest losers in the first round with a time of 6 minutes 20 seconds over the half mile course, narrowly beaten by one second in their heat by the Hungry Trout team.

With the Hungry Trout and CBMWC setting the fastest times of the day so far, they went head to head again. This time CBMWC slashed their time to 5 minutes 45 seconds and beat the Hungy Trout hands down. And so they were through to three boat final against Cardigan Bay Watersports and the Football Club team.

Despite the other teams having a slight advantage at the start, the CBMWC team soon pulled away and held the lead to the vital buoy turn and back to the finish line, finishing comfortably ahead of both teams in 5 minutes 28 seconds – the fastest time of the day. 

Huge congratulations to the team who would like to thank their wonderful cox from the rowing club, all of their supporters on the harbour wall and also wish to say well done to everyone who took part.

Marine Conservation Zones in Welsh waters

The Welsh Government’s first consultation on proposed Marine Conservation Zones has been launched. This first consultation considers 10 potential Marine Conservation Zones, however only 3-4 sites will be designated in 2014.  The new Marine Conservation Zones will be highly protected, where no extractive or depositional activities will be permitted within their boundaries. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 31st July. To find out more and have your say, click here.