Wildlife SMarT

Develop new Wildlife SMarT Project (Sustainable Marine Tourism)

Following the launch of the MFP's Bottlenose Dolphin Economic Survey in 2010/11, a wide range of partners agreed to form an East Coast Network and to join forces to take forward a new cross-area project called "Wildlife SMarT", to be led by MFP. This will focus on wider marine wildlife as well as Bottlenose Dolphins and other cetaceans, and will:-

[1] Build on the knowledge gained from the current Dolphin Space Programme, to (a) reach a wider audience and range of stakeholders including recreational boat users as well as tour boat operators; and (b) extend its range along the outer Firth, around the Aberdeenshire Coast, and southwards to Fife and the Firth of Tay to match the dolphins' main range. (Aberdeen Harbour has recently seen one harbour tour boat start, which may encourage other marine wildlife tourism development.

[2] Work in collaboration with local authorities, with the tourism industry and the public to promote best practice in sustainable marine wildlife tourism, thereby protecting our natural heritage, specifically the Scottish east coast resident bottlenose dolphin population and other marine wildlife in this region.

[3] Offer enhanced opportunities for communities to enjoy watching and learning about marine wildlife in a responsible way.

[4] Promote land-based watching opportunities, improved interpretation and facilities, tying into and adding value to ongoing local initiatives to promote coastal trails/ the Scottish Coastal Way.

[5] Develop a recreational marine chart for (at least) two key dolphin watching areas.

[6] Provide opportunities for shared development of new interpretation and training facilities across seven or more local authority areas, in conjunction with VisitScotland and other key tourism agencies.

[7] Following on from recommendations in the Sustainable Marine Recreation and Tourism work in 2010/11, take next steps towards initiating local dialogue / problem solving / education and outreach meeting(s) with Power Water Craft / Powerboat users, local residents etc., to address local disturbance / conflict issues reported in 2010/11 and previous years. 

SNH funding of £71,000 was awarded for this project in June 2012 and further fundraising will continue with the project aiming to start in autumn 2012. Local project aims are being identified for inclusion that will link in, add value and hopefully draw in additional local funding to the mainstream project proposal.