ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyor survey suspension extended until July 31st 2020
I do hope you and your family are keeping safe during these difficult times.
ORCA has been closely following Government advice regarding Covid-19 and social distancing, and we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of our Marine Mammal Surveyor ferry surveys and Saga cruises until July 31st 2020. This decision is also in line with the advice we have received from the shipping partners that we work with.
We thank you for your understanding and support with this difficult decision, but it is one that is crucial and necessary in safeguarding our volunteers, as well helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Team members with ferry surveys and Saga cruises confirmed in June and July have been contacted individually and we advise all those with surveys and cruises confirmed for later in the year not to make any travel arrangements until further notice, as this is an ever evolving situation.
We will continue to keep you updated on the 2020 Marine Mammal Surveyor survey season, but in the meantime we would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support.
ORCA’s research and survey data, which you help make possible through both collecting data in the field and supporting ORCA via memberships and donations, directly contributes to the creation of Marine Protected Areas around the UK, and is used in developing cetacean conservation policy both in the UK and across Europe.
ORCA is still really busy even if these strange times have made our operation somewhat different. The ORCA office is closed for now but the team are fully in touch every day, including the online conference calls that have become standard procedure for so many organisations. Right now, your support is more important than ever and your continued support will help secure ORCA’s future survival. ORCA are striving to ensure that, with your help, our work protecting marine mammals will continue to play a role, now and in the future.
We are taking the opportunity to make sure that the dataset is the best it can be by collating and running quality assurance checks on data so it can be accessed by research institutes and universities via an online portal. Encouragingly, the number of data requests ORCA receives has increased dramatically in recent months, meaning scientists and researchers are as committed as ever in learning more about marine mammals to better understand their ecology and the threats they face. Alongside this ORCA are keeping in touch with ferry and cruise operators, and other shipping companies to ensure that once these restrictions on travel are lifted, survey work can resume and exciting new survey itineraries can be planned for 2021 and beyond.
2020 is going to be a difficult year for all and the Covid-19 virus has impacted everyone in many different ways, but your continued support will enable ORCA to ensure work to protect whales and dolphins can continue, thank you.
With best wishes,