Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Training scheme for Isle of Man whale watch

Dolphins near the coast of Douglas, Isle of Man Image copyright Peter Canipa
Image caption Common bottlenose dolphins normally visit Manx waters between October and March to feed on herring, mackerel and whiting. They are widespread, except in polar waters

Marine experts are running workshops to train people how to survey whale and dolphin activity around the coast of the Isle of Man.

The scheme, which is run by the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch (MWDW), will teach people how to identify and record marine wildlife from land.

A spokesman said the data will help determine "distribution and abundance".

The free courses, which start in June, will be held on a monthly basis at the Manx Wildlife Trust building in Peel.

Image copyright Craig Whalley
Image caption Minke whales, which can weigh up to 10 tonnes, are sometimes spotted off the Manx coast in late summer

Jen Adams from the MWDW said the aim is to develop a network of observers to cover all of the designated sites around the Manx coast.

"Surveying from land is also the only true way to watch these animals behaving naturally in their environment," she continued.

"This way, we can watch from afar without producing any disturbance, allowing us to study how they feed and socialise with one another and how they interact with other species.

"Once confident, the observers go off and carry out surveys themselves."

Image copyright Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch
Image caption Data sharing is carried out between the Manx Wildlife Trust and the Sea Watch Foundation and Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Two training courses have already taken place this year in preparation for the summer season.

There are currently seven people trained to observe, four of whom are already surveying for the charity on a regular basis.

Anyone interested in attending is asking to contact the MWDW directly.

Image copyright Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch
Image caption Last year research showed there to be 89 Risso dolphins on the register, compared with 53 in 2013 and 30 in 2012

The Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch was established in 2006 and carries out land and boat-based surveys.

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