ORCA and Seiche Training announce innovative new training course

Seiche Training is pleased to announce a partnership with ORCA, one of the UK’s leading marine conservation charities.

Building on the sector-leading Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) programme Seiche Training has been running for a number of years, the two organisations have now developed an innovative new training package that integrates ORCA’s decades of experience monitoring marine mammals.

The three-day residential programme combines classroom-based learning with at-sea practical training, giving participants the theoretical skills needed to work as an MMO before putting it into practice observing real animals in the wild.

The course will produce a new generation of highly skilled MMOs that will not only have all of the technical skills needed to fulfil this crucial role, but will also have been exposed to a leading conservation organisation, giving them a crucial perspective on the key factors affecting whales and dolphins in UK and European waters.

Speaking about the new programme, ORCA Head of Science & Conservation, Lucy Babey, said: “This training course highlights how well respected ORCA’s work is in the wider scientific community, and we are thrilled to be working with Seiche Training to allow for a joined-up approach in creating safer spaces for whales and dolphins. We know from experience that there is no substitute for this type of at-sea experience.”

Sarah Hancock from Seiche said: “We are very excited to be building on our established course content by including the breadth of marine conservation knowledge brought by ORCA.”

The course commences with a one-day classroom-based session in Portsmouth before crossing to Santander, passing through one of the top five places in the world to see whales and dolphins – the Bay of Biscay – with the time at sea spent applying the technical skills on deck and observing marine mammals.

Two trips have been announced for 2019: 30 April to 2 May and 9 July to 11 July. The package includes the full training programme, passage aboard the ship and a single occupancy cabin. Places for this unique course are extremely limited and applicants should email Sarah Hancock at: info@seichetraining.com to find out more and apply.

ORCA is one of the UK’s leading marine conservation charities with a mission to give everyone who cares about whales and dolphins an active role in safeguarding their future. ORCA has coordinated a national network of volunteer citizen scientists since they were founded in 2001, using ferries and cruise ships as platforms of opportunity to collect critical data about whales, dolphins and porpoises.

ORCA’s research is used by government to inform UK and European marine conservation policy and ORCA is a key voice in the UK marine conservation sector. This work culminated in the launch of the annual The State of European Cetaceans report in 2016, which analyses ORCA’s data to identify critical habitats for whales and dolphins. The State of European Cetaceans 2018 report can be found in full at www.orcaweb.org.uk/soec