27 March 2018
The population of bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth and around the wider North Sea is stable, but remains vulnerable, according to researchers.
Around 200 dolphins call the coastal North Sea home, with more than half
frequently using the Moray Firth, part of which is an EU-classified
Special Area of Conservation (SAC) to help protect the marine mammals.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said the group is the most northern
resident bottlenose dolphin population in the world and generates around
GBP4 million per year for the local economy through tourism.
Research at the University of Aberdeen found there is some variability
in the numbers of dolphins using the Moray Firth SAC each year but it
appears generally stable over the long term.
Monitoring suggested dolphins use the SAC outside the summer months more
often than was previously thought and that there has been an overall
increase in dolphin numbers on the east coast.
Despite these results, SNH said the population is still “considered to
Morven Carruthers, SNH marine policy and advice officer, said: “This is
great news for the dolphins and for Scotland in general. We have been
monitoring dolphins in the Moray Firth SAC for many years and it’s been
wonderful to see stability in their numbers.
“Dolphin watching is a beloved activity for locals and visitors alike
throughout Scotland. It’s great to see a growing bottlenose dolphin
population on the east coast.”