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DFDS SEAWAYS NEEDS MARINE MAMMAL SURVEY VOLUNTEERS

UK whale and dolphin conservation charity, ORCA is hosting a Marine Mammal Survey (MMS) training course in Newcastle, in partnership with DFDS Seaways, as part of its conservation work to learn more about whales and dolphins living in the North Sea and develop accurate habitat protection priority maps.

It is hoped that those who complete the course will become survey volunteers covering the DFDS Seaways’ Newcastle to Amsterdam route from May to September 2012.  In return for becoming a survey volunteer, DFDS Seaways provides free travel on the route for the purpose of the Marine Mammal Survey.

Alison Lomax, ORCA Community Engagement Officer said: “We rely on a team of volunteer observers to carry out important research, but in order to achieve the standard required, we ask that they complete the MMS training course first.

 “ORCA volunteers have the opportunity to experience life at sea, encounter whales and dolphins and gain a greater understanding of ocean ecosystems and the threats they face; in collecting scientific data, volunteers can contribute to the mammals’ conservation and future welfare.”

Stephen House, Head of Product at DFDS Seaways says: “We are pleased to continue to work with ORCA on this survey training. We regularly provide space onboard our vessels for volunteer surveyors and value the work they do in conjunction with ORCA to chart cetaceans in the North Sea.”

During previous surveys on the route, volunteers recorded sightings of minke whales, the largest whale commonly found in UK waters, as well as harbour porpoises and white beaked dolphins.

During the one-day course, delegates will gain practical training on how to identify whales, dolphins and porpoises, as well as learning how to interpret the mammals’ behaviour, understanding photo-identification techniques and carry out line-transect surveys.

The course will take place on Saturday 10th December at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle between 10am and 4.30pm.

The fee for attending the course is £60, or £54 for concessions.  ORCA asks that delegates bring their own packed lunch.

To book a place on the MMS training course visit: http://www.orcaweb.org.uk/?page_id=1092 or for more information visit the ORCA website http://www.orcaweb.org.uk/

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Issued on behalf of DFDS Seaways by Robson Brown

Notes to editors:
DFDS is one of Europe’s largest ferry companies, operating both passenger and freight routes between England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Lithuania.
 
DFDS Seaways holds the prestigious title of Europe’s Leading Long Sea Ferry Operator 2011 awarded by The World Travel Awards for the fifth year in a row.

In the UK, the company operates passenger services on routes from Newcastle to Amsterdam, Harwich to Esbjerg and Dover to Dunkirk.

For further information, visit www.dfds.co.uk


ORCA is one of Europe’s leading whale & dolphin conservation charities. ORCA was formed in 2000 and is dedicated to forging links between people and the sea.

ORCA is committed to the study of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) conducting surveys throughout the year on ferry routes covering the Bay of Biscay, the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the English Channel.

For more information, visit www.orcaweb.org.uk

For media enquiries contact:
Gemma Cohen on 0191 244 6652 gemma.cohen@robson-brown.co.uk
Kirsty McNaught on 0191 244 6637/ 07855720343 kirsty.mcnaught@robson-brown.co.uk