ShoreFin Project 2015

Our ShoreFin project report 2015 is now available to download from our ShoreFin project page.

 

Bottlenose dolphin, Cardigan Bay

Bottlenose dolphin, Cardigan Bay. Copyright Sarah Perry/CBMWC

About the ShoreFin Project

Initiated in 2014 the ShoreFin project is our dedicated land-based bottlenose dolphin photo-identification study located in New Quay Bay. For decades we have known that New Quay is a hotspot for bottlenose dolphins, but why?

The ShoreFin project is interested in finding out why New Quay bay is such a hotspot as well as understanding more about the bottlenose dolphin population in Cardigan Bay. The primary aim of the project is to improve the understanding of bottlenose dolphin site usage within New Quay Bay, to identify which individuals visit this site, how frequently and for what purpose.

ShoreFin Project team photographing dolphins during filming for the BBC's UK Big Blue in 2015.

ShoreFin Project team photographing dolphins during filming for the BBC's UK Big Blue in 2015.

Since 2014, the ShoreFin project has identified a total of 92 different dolphins that have used New Quay Bay. In 2015, 61 individuals were identified from photographs taken by the ShoreFin project, 19 of which were new to the CBMWC Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin photo-identification catalogue. Therefore, the data collected by the ShoreFin project suggests that it is often the same individual dolphins frequenting New Quay bay, thus highlighting the importance of adherence to local codes of conduct such as Ceredigion marine code of conduct. The ShoreFin project also provides evidence of the frequent use of New Quay Bay by mother and calf pairs; seven were photographed in 2014 and ten in 2015. The area is believed to be favoured by these mothers for its sheltered shallow waters where their calves are safe to socialise and learn to forage.

The project has also found that individual bottlenose dolphins show different degrees of site fidelity; those who were photographed regularly, likely to be semi-residents and those seen only once during the season, therefore likely to be in transit.

Bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay are exposed to potentially disturbing activities that could pose conservation challenges. The continuation of the ShoreFin project will help provide rigorous scientific assessments of the population to help develop effective and adaptive management strategies and conservation measures.

Be involved…

We are currently recruiting volunteers to become part of the ShoreFin team for 2016. If you are interested in joining our Living Seas volunteer team or know anyone that would be interested in volunteering for the season (April to November) and joining the ShoreFin team then please contact us at volunteer@cbmwc.org or phone 01545 560224.

Further information on the project can be found on the ShoreFin Project page on our website.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Living Seas volunteers at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre for their valuable contribution to our work and in respect of this project Anna Stevens and Manon Chautard for their enthusiasm, hard work and dedication to the ShoreFin project in the 2015 season.