Visual sightings data set 2003-2017
HWDT assess the relative abundance, densities and distribution of marine mammal species and basking shark on the west of Scotland using an 18 m motor-sailor vessel Silurian that conducts systematic line transect surveys. Effort and sightings data is collected between April and October during daylight hours.
When cetaceans, seals, sunfish, turtle species or basking sharks are sighted, species, group size and composition and other data (estimated distance to animal, bearing and heading) are recorded. Additionally, GPS positional data, effort status, boat speed and sea conditions are also recorded.
The data collected here provide a baseline for marine mammals and other marine species sighted (sunfish, turtles and basking sharks) in west Scottish waters. Species include MPA search features and those protected under the EU Habitats Directive. HWDT can provide extensive temporal and spatial distribution information vital for the effective management of these protected species. Fine scale distribution data of such species in the west Scotland are not elsewhere available on this temporal and spatial scale.
Data have been processed and maintained periodically since collection began back in 2003. A number of commissioned reports, studies (peer-reviewed) and students have utilised the data set thus only moderate levels of error checking and reformatting of data structures are required
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Metadata last updated on 2017-11-03 13:56:15.0