Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Marine Strandings Network (dolphins and porpoises)

Each year, hundreds of dead cetaceans are washed up on the beaches of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. In response to this, Cornwall Wildlife Trust has developed its own Marine Strandings Network (MSN) of volunteers who currently collect and record information from stranded cetaceans and other marine wildlife. Volunteers record the carcasses of dead dolphins and, where appropriate, retrieve them for postmortem examination on behalf of its partner, the Institute of Zoology under the Defra funded UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP).

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (214929)




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Records of dead cetaceans provide an important source of information about the status and health of these species in our waters. Trends in the number and distribution of strandings can give us clues about the movements and population size of cetacean species. Postmortem examination yields vital information about the cause of death and also provides information about cetacean biology, ecology and population health and structure. In its current capacity, our Marine Strandings Network could be significantly improved, ensuring that the data is collected in a standardised way, the volunteers are well supported and that feedback is provided to them. We would like to: 1. Recruit, train and support volunteer strandings recorders from geographical areas which are currently not covered by the network. 2. Provide regular, more extensive training for volunteer strandings recorders to ensure robust data collection. 3. Encourage public reporting of strandings through production and distribution of Hotline emergency contact cards and leaflets, through presentations and publicity. 4. Collect and collate spatial and seasonal data on cetacean strandings. 5. Identify potential ‘hotspots’ where cetacean bycatch is a recurring problem to inform the process of developing management strategies. 6. Analyse data with respect to acoustic monitoring and sightings data to investigate any relationships and inform the process of developing management strategies. 7. Disseminate results through publication of scientific reports, volunteer newsletters and on the publicly accessible website. We need £10,000 a year to continue and develop this important work. We have already secured £3,500 a year from Frugi via the 1% For The Planet scheme which means we still need £6,500 a year. Any help with this would be most appreciated - thank you.