Posted by: orcaweb | May 24, 2017

5 Things you can do at home to help whales and Dolphins, and all marine life

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A gannet having a flap

Sightings update: Katie and I (Jess) have had a lovely week of calm crossings with our regular common dolphins and striped dolphins impressing the passengers. On our Saturday crossing to Santander (our favourite crossing as we are able to get off the ferry and go to our favourite ice cream shop) we had a great group of keen passengers but sadly we weren’t having much luck with sightings. Just as the lack of wildlife activity was starting to make us look bad, Katie amazingly spotted three Cuvier’s beaked whales in the distance; the white head of a male shinned brightly in the sun and was followed by a female and possibly a youngster. The passengers and I were seriously impressed by Katie’s hawk-eyed spot, and we all went away with a spring in our step. AND I got to eat ice cream, RESULT!

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A common dolphin having a splash

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A common dolphin having a little jump

As it’s well into the season, we have started to map out our sightings and below you can see the map of what we’ve seen so far!

CF quater way map 'w' logos

Whales and dolphins are having a pretty hard time at the moment. Climate change, chemical and noise pollution, unsustainable fishing, commercial whaling, and marine litter result in hundreds of thousands of marine mammals dying every year, which, as I talked about in my previous blog, is all the more worrying now we know how much we depend on them. So what can we do to look after these magnificent and vital creatures? Well you certainly don’t have to be a marine biologist or conservationist to give marine wildlife a helping hand, and below are five easy ways you can make a difference and help protect these animals.

1) Go on a beach clean

Marine litter, particularly plastic, is causing catastrophic damage to ocean wildlife. Every year it is thought that around one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals die from ingesting or becoming entangled in rubbish. One of many ways we can tackle this problem is to keep our beaches tidy; every beach I have ever visited has had a form of litter washed up or left on it. This is our chance to grab some of that rubbish and dispose of or recycle it properly before it ends up back in the sea. Every beach goer can make a difference by taking away a few bits of plastic with them after each of their visits. You can also join organised beach clean days ran by your local wildlife groups or you could even organise your own community beach clean with your friends and neighbours if you’re lucky enough to live by the sea.

2) Reduce your use of plastic

Litter picking on beaches will of course stop some plastic from entering the ocean, but it is also good to try to stop it getting there in the first place. Even if we dispose of our plastic responsibly, it can still very easily blow off landfill sites and end up in rivers which then lead to the sea. One thing we can all try to do is reduce the demand for plastic products, by reducing our personal consumption of it. There are many ways to cut down on your single use plastic consumption, here are a few tips on how to avoid the worst ocean plastic offenders:

  • Say no to straws

Do we really need to drink our drinks with plastic straws? Every day in the U.S. 500 million straws are thrown away every day. Next time you are out with friends in a restaurant or bar, simply saying ‘no straws please’ when you order your drinks is an easy and effective way of reducing the demand for plastic and helping marine life.

  • Carry a reusable coffee cup

It is estimated that Britain throws away 7 million single use coffee cups every day. This is a huge problem because the card in these cups is fused with polyethylene to keep them waterproof and safe to drink from. These two materials then cannot be separated at a normal recycling centre. Therefore only 1% of these cups are recycled. By carrying a reusable coffee cup with you on your travels you could save thousands of cups from heading to landfill sites, where they are very easily blown by the wind into rivers, which then lead to the sea. Most coffee shops are very happy for you to bring your own cup to them to put your drink in.

  • Keep a reusable bag on you

Since Britain introduced charging for plastic bags, the use went down by 85%. This was a result for wildlife lovers as plastic bags are causing havoc in the sea. Many species mistake plastic bags for their jellyfish prey and die as a result of ingesting them. Just like the coffee cups, plastic bags are easily blown off landfill sites and even out of bins and then end up in the sea. Get yourself some reusable bags to pull out again and again at the shops, which will save marine life and save you some money!

3) Choose sustainable seafood

We have a lot of power when it comes to spending our money. The choices we make as consumers have a huge impact on wildlife, and choosing to buy sustainably sourced seafood will undoubtedly help ocean life. There are lots of online resources that can help you make good decisions about where to buy your seafood, take a look at The Marine Conservation Society’s advice on the Good seafood guide.

4) Join in with campaigns

There are all sorts of marine wildlife projects out there working hard to create a better future for our cetaceans, take a look online and see if you can find any petitions you might like to sign that will lobby governing bodies into making changes that will benefit our ocean and its inhabitants.

5) Support a marine wildlife charity

Now if you’re worried that you might not have time to fit all the techniques above in, an unbelievably easy way to help out wildlife, without even stepping outside your door, is to join an environmental charity as a member. For as little as £3 a month you can join ORCA as a member and be confident in the knowledge that every month you make a difference to whales and dolphins and the projects that are dedicated to protecting them.

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We are lucky to sail through the islands off the coast of Brittany where we see beautiful lighthouses

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One of our passengers enjoying a rainbow out on deck

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