Waters off North Tyneside have been identified as a good nursery ground for dolphins.
A comprehensive survey of whales and dolphins aroud the British and European waters has highlighted the biggest range of threats to the animals.
But the report, which took ten years to compile, has shown the important part waters off North Shields could play.
‘The State of European Cetaceans’ report, produced by UK charity ORCA, reveals for the first time concrete evidence that the coastal waters off North Shields are an important nursery ground for white-beaked dolphins.
It indicates the increased importance of the region for marine mammal activity, and shines a light on the significance of the North Sea in marine conservation.
Sally Hamilton, director of ORCA, said: “The breath-taking variety of whales and dolphins we have recorded demonstrates the huge range of marine wildlife that can be found around our coastlines.
“But the survey has also revealed the increasing number of threats to their future – threats that have never been greater or more worrying.”
ORCA’s report, compiled with the help of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Plymouth University, lists threats including whaling by Iceland and Norway, over-fishing, ship strikes, and marine pollution.
The charity is calling for action on protecting minke whales during seasonal migration while the Bay of Biscay must be designated an Important Marine Mammal Area.
Sally added: “We call on the UK and other European governments to take action in providing more marine protected areas and recognise the designation of Important Marine Mammal Areas to protect these incredible animals at this time of increased threats to their survival.
“These threats are diverse and growing, and they are real and not going away. Whether from increased marine traffic, which can result in acoustic pollution or ship-strikes, the choking of our seas with plastic, over-fishing and by-catch and the continuation of whaling by Norway and Iceland.”
“This report provides many answers and fills gaps in our knowledge about the state of whales and dolphins in our waters. We now need to start asking questions about how these threats will be addressed.”
To view the infographic and full report, visit www.orcaweb.org.uk/ www.orcaweb.org.uk/our-work/the-state-of-european-cetaceans-report
ORCA – which works to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises – had hundreds of volunteers undertake the surveys on board ferries and commercial ships.