The Eastern coastline around Norfolk, has numbers of harbour porpoises, photo by Niki Clear 1/3
Basking shark, photo by JP Trenque 2/3
Common dolphins, photo by Caroline Weir 3/3

Megafauna hotspots - the missing link in marine protection

Tuesday 04 November, 2014

New report highlights need to protect important places for dolphins, whales and basking sharks

Today a new report identifies 17 important ‘megafauna hotspots’ around our shores for the first time and highlights the need to protect them. It includes the Eastern coastline around Norfolk, because of its number of harbour porpoises.

Save Our Ocean Giants: the protected areas we need for dolphins, whales and basking sharks explains why The Wildlife Trusts want to see these newly identified hotspots – special areas on which  the UK’s 29 different species of whales, dolphins and basking sharks most depend – protected by law.

Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce said:
“After many years of campaigning by The Wildlife Trusts and others, the UK government has finally begun protecting areas at sea so that marine wildlife and habitats can recover from decades of damage, decline and over-exploitation.

“It is long overdue but these new Marine Protected Areas (MPA s) only protect habitats and wildlife on the seabed. It is a different story for our marine ‘megafauna’ – the 29 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, and the basking sharks – regularly found around our coast including here in Norfolk. All are at risk from damaging activities and some species are in decline.

“We are proposing 17 areas around England and Wales, which should become protected areas especially for whales, basking sharks and dolphins. These are the places where these charismatic animals gather to feed, breed and socialise, and are worth protecting.”

Observations at Eastern coastal sites such as Cromer, Spurn Head, and Bempton/ Flamborough Head show numbers of harbour porpoises peaking at the start of the breeding season (April – May), with newborns regularly observed. The Eastern Coastline has harbour porpoises all year round, with highest numbers during calving in spring and early summer. The Wildlife Trusts recommend that the area of Eastern coastline, including Silver Pit, is investigated further as an area of search.

Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Seas, said:  
“Our marine megafauna are still under threat. Many are suffering from the impacts of fishing, whether direct or indirect, increased boat traffic, marine developments and the more persistent effects of pollution - many substances bioaccummulate and affect generations of animals and overall population health. Not all of these impacts can be mitigated by spatial protection measures alone but, by designating areas of the sea which are known hotspots, we can provide safe havens for these species and some impacts can be limited or removed altogether.”

NWT and the other Wildlife Trusts in the UK are urging the public to sign an e-action which calls on the Government to protect the 17 megafauna hotspots around our shores to secure a brighter future for dolphins, whales and basking sharks. Some of these 17 places already have designations – whether as Marine Conservation Zones, Special Areas of Conservation and more – but unfortunately whales, dolphins and basking sharks are not listed as ‘features’ to be protected within them.  This is why we are calling for either new conservation areas, or for these species to be recognised and protected within existing designated areas.

What you can do to help

Support our campaign for protecting UK waters where whales, sharks and dolphins live.

1. Sign our e-petition
It’s time to start protecting areas at sea for whales, dolphins and basking sharks. Add your name and next year we’ll present your signatures to Government.

2. Share our campaign
Help raise awareness. Use #act4giants, #oceangiants and our link

3. Read the full report
Download the full megafauna hotspots technical report
Share this

Top news stories

2018-02-05 Cley Calling Presents: Bird Ph Cley Calling Presents: Bird Photographer of the Year 2017 Exhibition
Monday 05 February, 2018
We are thrilled to debut the very best imagery from last year’s globally prestigious Bird Photographer of the Y...
2018-01-15 Cley Calling Presents: An even Cley Calling Presents: An evening of poetic-folk music with Jade Cuttle
Monday 15 January, 2018
This February Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes is excited to host Jade Cuttle, a BBC Introducing poetic folk songw...
2018-01-12 Norfolk Wildlife Trust welcome Norfolk Wildlife Trust welcomes the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan
Friday 12 January, 2018
Theresa May’s speech on the environment this week shows that, at last, a Government is seeing how much the envi...
2017-12-08 Be ‘eagle’ eyed this winter Be ‘eagle’ eyed this winter
Friday 08 December, 2017
Winter is often a very good time of year to spot birds of prey. As the trees have lost their leaves the silhouettes o...
2017-12-05 Brendan is stepping down as CE Brendan is stepping down as CEO
Tuesday 05 December, 2017
Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce, has decided to step down from leading the Trust, following ...
2017-12-04 December fun thanks to The Nat December fun thanks to The National Lottery
Monday 04 December, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve will be throwing open its doors for free to National Lottery players ov...
2017-11-20 Brendan Joyce receives an OBE Brendan Joyce receives an OBE at Buckingham Palace
Monday 20 November, 2017
Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce, received an OBE on Thursday for services to nature conserva...
2017-10-26 NWT's newest nature reserve: P NWT's newest nature reserve: Pigneys Wood
Thursday 26 October, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce that it has been entrusted with the ownership of Pigneys Wood, a l...
2017-10-25 New report urges Government to New report urges Government to tackle five challenges simultaneously
Wednesday 25 October, 2017
Today The Wildlife Trusts publish a new report that sets a vision for our marine environment post Brexit. It identifi...
2017-10-24 Hedgehog season Hedgehog season
Tuesday 24 October, 2017
This time of year you may see hedgehogs and be concerned if they need help and if so what to do. Time is of the essen...
2017-10-13 Safeguarding water supply at t Safeguarding water supply at the Trinity Broads
Friday 13 October, 2017
The supply of drinking water from the Trinity Boards has been secured for many years to come, thanks to an innovative...
2017-10-11 Powerful Climate Change Exhibi Powerful Climate Change Exhibition at Cley
Wednesday 11 October, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust will bring to Norfolk the work of award-winning photographer Ashley Cooper; known globally for...