We rely on the oceans for so much; food, industry, weather systems, the air we breathe, and most significantly for us, travel. We all have a responsibility to protect our seas, and at DFDS Seaways we take this responsibility very seriously.
Back in 2006 DFDS Seaways UK looked at our environmental commitments and decided that we would like to do more. We wanted to go over and above our statutory obligations and look to see where we, as one of the UK’s largest ferry companies, could make a significant difference to marine conservation. We decided that we could be most influential by engaging our community - the ferry-travelling public - with marine conservation issues, by providing educational material about the wildlife of the North Sea. We knew from reports by passengers and crew that interesting sea birds, dolphins, and even whales were being seen on our routes, but we needed to discover more.
It was at this point that we formed a partnership with marine conservation charity ORCA. ORCA is one of Europe’s leading whale and dolphin conservation charities, and is dedicated to forging links between people and the sea. ORCA focuses on the study of whales, dolphins and porpoises, and promotes their conservation through enthusing, inspiring and educating others.
Working alongside ORCA, we began to survey some of our routes for whales, dolphins and other wildlife. We were astonished at the results, which revealed that there were many more opportunities to show people these fantastic animals from our ships than we had imagined.
Since that time we have commissioned over 100 marine wildlife surveys, employed wildlife education officers on Newcastle to Amsterdam route, developed an onboard ‘Wildlife Centre’ on one of our ships, and involved our passengers in a range of innovative, engaging and fun educational activities.
Whilst we are very proud of this achievement, there is always more that can be done. Our activities with ORCA have expanded to an outreach programme that saw a Community Engagement Officer, supported by DFDS Seaways working in the community of the North East on a project entitled ‘Your Seas’, encouraging local people to take an active part in conservation of their environment. The project also made links to Key Stage 1 and 2 of the National Curriculum, and gave local school children the opportunity to visit the wildlife centre onboard one of our ferries to become Dolphin Scientists for the day.
With the continued support of our passengers and staff, we plan to continue to develop our environmental programme and partnerships in order to affirm both medium and long-term benefits to the North Sea, and the wider marine environment.
You can keep track of the latest news at our press centre, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive more information about our environmental projects and initiatives.