Humpback whales spotted off Yorkshire coast for the first time since 2014 thanks to clear weather

The dry summer has led to a rise in sightings of whales and dolphins off the Yorkshire coast.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 3rd August 2018, 3:19 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd August 2018, 3:23 pm

Fairer weather has boosted the number of sightings recorded in a snapshot survey this week, including six seen off Yorkshire’s coast.

Watch: Amazing video of whale frolicking off Yorkshire coastEvery year scientists at the Sea Watch Foundation ask members of the public to contribute to their National Whale and Dolphin Watch. This year’s event runs until August 5, and has already seen a record number of species spotted across the UK, including minke and humpback whales in Yorkshire.

Where to see whales in YorkshireSkipper Bryan Clarkson, of Whitby Whale Watching, said the high number of sightings this year was purely down to the fairer weather. “The clearer it is, the more you can see,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”

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Mr Clarkson, who has been recording the sightings for the survey, said there was one nice surprise this year.

“We haven’t seen a humpback whale off Yorkshire’s coast for four years,” he said. “I’ve had a report of one every five days or so since the start of July. That’s a bit of a rare treat for us.

“They are building up to the arrival of the North Sea herring shoal, come autumn, off the Yorkshire coast. From now until September, we will be able to see whales on a fine day from Saltburn to Scarborough.”

More than 200 sightings have been reported nationwide, with the number expected to rise further by the weekend.

The scheme, in its 17th year, is part of efforts to inform Sea Watch’s database and aid protection and conservation.

Species spotted so far include harbour porpoises and whales spotted at Long Nab, Burniston, Marine Drive in Scarborough and Flamborough Head.

Dr Chiara Giulia Bertulli, sightings officer for Sea Watch Foundation, said:

“We need as many eyes on the sea as possible. For me, National Whale and Dolphin Watch is about involving people and allowing them to experience something they never thought they could be part of, it is about collecting vital data for the protection and conservation of local cetacean species, and it is about sharing this magical event with people from all other the country and having fun all together.”