Our environmental mission lies at the very heart of our business – with the ferry travelling public. In the last three years we have reached out to people – on our ferries and beyond – using increasingly inventive, engaging and inspiring strategies. We are proud of our achievements in raising awareness of the importance of the marine environment and inspiring people to travel with us and see it for themselves.
Wildlife Officer Education Programme
Our Wildlife Officer Education Programme run in partnership with marine conservation charity
ORCA, uses innovative, engaging and fun methods to inspire and enthuse ferry passengers about the marine environment. We encourage people to make small changes in their lifestyle that will benefit marine ecosystems. Our inclusive, fun ethos is evident in our events and other activities.
“I hope to inspire the passengers with this exciting marine experience and help them spot all the birds, seals, whales and dolphins we share our time at sea with.
Senior Wildlife Officer, KING SEAWAYS;
Marine wildlife surveys;
We provide free and discounted travel for teams of volunteers to conduct monthly whale and dolphin surveys onboard our vessels. The data collected is used by
ARC (Atlantic Research Coalition) to monitor whale and dolphin population changes in the UK and EU waters. Studies analysing the data underpin our educational activities.
ORCA Wildlife Centre
Our onboard Wildlife Centre on the King Seaways between Newcastle and Amsterdam is the only offshore wildlife centre in the world! Packed full of displays, activities, and games, the Wildlife Centre is manned throughout the summer between April and late September. The centre is free to enter and open to all passengers to enjoy and learn.
Equipped with binoculars and a spotting scope, dolphins and sea birds are regularly spotted from the centre. Each day, passengers are invited to attend a programme of fun educational activities and presentations about the amazing wildlife of the North Sea, before being challenged to change one small thing in their lives that would benefit our marine ecosystems. There are also a number of displays that address common questions from passengers on subjects like marine litter, overfishing, wind farms, oil rigs, ship strikes and shark finning, to mention just a few.
Download a pdf version of the new ‘Threats to Marine Life’ display board
“This is a very good initiative from DFDS to educate people about the North Sea, the wildlife and ecosystem. It'll raise people's awareness to take care for our planet. We loved to see the Gannets diving for fish from the ferry"
Fiona & Melvin Vandoorn
Your Seas outreach programme;
Beginning in autumn 2011, DFDS are jointly sponsoring an educational outreach programme in the Newcastle area which will be managed by marine conservation charity ORCA. The programme will use whales, dolphins and the historical story of fishing in the North East as vehicles to enthuse, inspire and educate people about the wider marine environment. Five species of whale and dolphin have been recorded during recent surveys onboard DFDS ferries; Harbour Porpoise, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, White-beaked Dolphin and Minke Whale. All of these species are Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) listed either individually or within species groups. These species face a multitude of threats, including over exploitation of their fish prey, accidental capture in fishing nets, ingestion of plastic, and pollution originating from industrial activities.
Coastal ecosystems (e.g. beaches. rocky shores. mudflats, estuaries etc) enjoy significantly more conservation attention compared to offshore marine environments, which are often forgotten. This project will focus on offshore ecosystems, highlighting how our lifestyles can impact marine communities many miles offshore
WhaleFest – Europe’s biggest whale festival;
DFDS have committed to co-sponsoring one of the largest marine conservation events in Europe –
A celebration of everything we love about whales, dolphins, and the sea, WhaleFest is the first event of its kind to bring together Europe’s marine conservation charities, whale watching eco-tours, and the general public, under one roof.
Low-impact ecotourism mini cruises;
Working alongside ecotourism specialists
School of Whales, we have developed a programme of low-impact wildlife watching mini cruises in search of migrating birds. Our ferry route between Harwich and Esbjerg in Denmark, takes us through one of the most important bird migration routes in Europe, including a natural World Heritage site on the Danish coast. These tours are designed to be highly educational, teaching people how and why birds migrate before showing them migration in action along the Danish coast. The trips employ local Danish guides and rely on public transport networks for travel.