North Sea home to white beaked dolphins habitat, confirming importance of Northumberland coast as marine mammal zone
Northumberland coast marine zone – North Sea
More than 30 white beaked dolphins have been spotted off the Northumberland coast in the North Sea, confirming that this area is extremely important to marine mammals and Northumbria wildlife.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust reports that during a dedicated three-hour survey of the Farne Deeps off the Northumberland coast marine life experts were able to record, film and photograph 32 white beaked dolphins, four harbour porpoise, two minke whales and two grey seals.
The Farne Deeps is a deep glacial tunnel located 20 miles offshore from the Northumberland Coast in the North Sea.
A number of seabirds were also recorded, including gannets, razorbills and puffins foraging offshore for food were also recorded.
Experts and surveyors from MARINELife, the North East Cetacean Project, and Northumberland Wildlife Trust embarked on a 12-hour voyage recently in a vessel supplied by the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority.
The Farne Deeps is ; its deep channels result in areas of nutrient upwelling and changes in tidal currents which bring with them rich supplies of food. As a result it attracts high numbers of travelling marine mammals as well as seabirds.
Steve Lowe, Head of Conservation at Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “I am delighted the white beaked dolphins chose to put in an appearance at just the right time.
“This proposed Marine Conservation Zone is such a productive area and is home to some incredible wildlife. This was a fantastic survey, combining skills and resources from a range of organisations and its results show that the North Sea has wildlife in need of protection.
“The deep glacial tunnels provide foraging and breeding grounds for white beaked dolphin, a species which has been under-recorded in the past; with new data we can identify ways to best protect this species for future generations.”
Martin Kitching, North East Cetacean Project, said different depths of the sea play a considerable role in what’s found far beneath the surface of the sea. “Two weeks ago in this area we had 100 white beaked dolphins. We know they use this area and we know it’s important to them. It is important that we protect it for them and other marine wildlife too.”