Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) – ORCA 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 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 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.

This course is accredited by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and delegates who complete the course will be professionally qualified as an MMO and will receive a certificate for offshore work. All MMOs working in the UK Continental Shelf are required to have been trained on a JNCC-accredited course.

Day 1 (classroom)
Anthropogenic Noise in the Sea
Effects of Noise on Marine Mammal
Legislative Background
Role of the MMO NCC Mitigation in Practice: Seismic Surveys, Vertical Seismic Profiling, Piling and Explosives
ID of UK Marine Mammals Reporting Requirements

Day 2 and 3 (onboard vessel)
Reporting Requirements
Recording Forms in Practice
MMO and ID in Practice
Life Onboard

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


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