Plans for UK's first dolphin and porpoise conservation strategy launched by Scottish Government

The Scottish Government, in partnership with the Welsh Government, Northern Irish executive and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has launched a consultation on plans for a Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy – a UK first.

The Scottish Government collaborated with government departments across the UK, Northern Ireland and Wales to develop the consultation on the strategy – which identifies areas where further research or management can aid conservation of the nine most common species of dolphin, whale and porpoise in UK seas.

Steps outlined to tackle the increased threat to the marine mammals include establishing UK-wide approaches to managing wildlife tourism, improving understanding of the impact that pollutants, plastics and acoustic disturbances can have on the mammals as well as increased research on how to reduce the threat of marine mammal entanglements.

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The strategy will also look to strengthen understanding of the physical conditions needed to support habitats and prey to enhance conservation efforts.

Scotland's Natural Environment Minister Ben Macpherson said:

“Sightings of these iconic and charismatic species are not only exciting experiences for those who witness them but they are also a good indication of the health of our marine environment.

“This consultation is a milestone for marine protection and includes a range of measures that will help us to conserve dolphin, whale and porpoise populations in our waters, and allow us to better understand and address the pressures they face.

“Scotland’s waters are home to many unique species and this proposed strategy builds on the work we are already doing to safeguard bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise, Minke whales and Risso’s dolphins through our Marine Protected Area (MPA) network, which now covers in excess of 37% of our sea area.”

UK Government Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow said:

“This consultation is an important step towards delivering vital protections for dolphin, whale and porpoise populations in UK waters.

“We are committed to working with our counterparts in the devolved administrations to ensure we understand the pressures these species face from pollution and human activity so that they can thrive in our seas.”

The consultation will run until June 14 and is available to view here.

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