POOLE, ENGLAND, January 20, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- MARINElife has been given access to three routes aboard the Norman Asturias with all three, Poole to Santander, Poole to Gijón and Gijón to St Nazaire, going through the heart of marine-life paradise: the Bay of Biscay. MARINElife research has demonstrated that the bay, located off the coast of western France and northern Spain is a hotspot for many whale and dolphin species. MARINElife has been researching and surveying this vibrant area of ocean since 1995 and the support of LD Lines has ensured the conservation effort can continue.
The Bay of Biscay is especially important to a vast diversity of marine-life because beneath the waves of the bay, there are many deep water cliffs and canyons which create concentrated areas of food such as fish, squid and krill which in turn attracts larger marine mammals and seabirds. The Blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, is known to visit the area for feeding as well as many other species of whale and dolphin including the rarely spotted Beaked Whales.
Adrian Shephard from MARINElife said: "These ferry routes give MARINElife the opportunity to expand our vital conservation research in an extremely productive area for whales and dolphins and we deeply appreciate the assistance LD Lines have provided".
A spokesman from LD Lines commented: "We are delighted to be supporting the inspirational research work of MARINElife via our UK - France - Spain services which traverse the Bay of Biscay. The vital conservation work they undertake will be extensively promoted on board as we are certain this will be of enormous interest to many of our travelling passengers".
Conservation research is so important because many species of marine mammals remain threatened due to the pressures from environmental changes, over-fishing, whaling and marine pollution. MARINElife's monitoring work is helping understand the changes in populations that are occurring and what action can be taken to safeguard their future.
MARINElife is confident the access offered by LD Lines will provide substantial data on marine mammals and seabirds in the area. Passengers crossing with LD Lines will also have the opportunity to look out for marine wildlife in its natural habitat by observing from the decks. Dolphin pods can be very large in Biscay and will often come in to bow ride and in the summer months, large numbers of 25 meter Fin Whales can be seen with their tall blows visible for miles.
MARINElife is a charity, established to co-ordinate and develop a growing portfolio of cetacean and seabird research and monitoring projects, chiefly in European Waters. Focal areas of work include whale, dolphin and seabird monitoring from ferries and other 'ships of opportunity', and research on Balearic Shearwaters, Bottlenose Dolphins and White-beaked Dolphins. Through these projects and collaborations, we aim to further the conservation of the wildlife of oceans and coasts through scientific investigation and educational activities.
MARINElife continues to work in partnership with a number of other research groups, spearheading an international initiative, the Atlantic Research Coalition (ARC) that aims to describe changes in the status of whales and dolphins at a European scale. Further information on MARINElife can be found by visiting our website at marine-life.org.uk and further information on the North East Cetacean Project can be found at northeastcetaceans.org.uk
LD lines, a subsidiary company of Louis Dreyfus Group, operates ferries between both Poole (UK) and Rosslare (Ireland) to St Nazaire (France) and Gijón (Spain). The vessels Norman Asturias and Norman Atlantic, built in 2008/2009 by the Visentini Italian shipyard, each have capacity for up to 500 passengers and 200 cars and on board facilities include 120 cabins, bar, restaurant, shop and a full range of passenger entertainment is being developed and introduced in the months ahead. MARINElife surveyors will travel on ferries from Poole to Santander, Poole to Gijón and Gijón to St Nazaire.
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