New move to protect wildlife in North Sea

Mammals and seabirds to be monitored off the Scarborough coast.

Mammals and seabirds to be monitored off the Scarborough coast.

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Whales, dolphins and sea birds are to be monitored off the Scarborough coast as part of a major new drive to protect wildlife in the North Sea.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and MARINElife will be carrying out surveys in the area in order to gain a better understanding of the mammals and seabirds that live in the region’s waters.

The results will help the conservationists identify different species and their habitats, as well as highlight patterns in their behaviour and key activity hotspots.

A spokesman for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said: “Robust data can help monitor changes in populations, inform management decisions and contribute towards the appropriate designation of Marine Protected Areas, which will protect the key habitats for our migrant marine species. These surveys will help us do this and there is a chance be a part of it.”

Scarborough residents are being invited to take part in the project, with both organisations looking for volunteers to spot marine life as part of the vital new survey work. A training day will take place at the Women’s Institute Hall, Flamborough, on Saturday August 25.

By booking onto the survey course, volunteers will be given the opportunity to learn more about the North Sea’s marine wildlife and why it is so important to protect it, as well as the opportunity to learn new skills and develop practical survey experience.

Plans to conserve the nation’s coastal waters with a network of protected areas known as Marine Conservation Zones were supposed to be under way by the end of this year.

But despite almost £7 million being spent, the scheme has been delayed until 2013 and only 20-30 sites will be chosen out of a possible 127.