Dolphin sightings in the Bay of Biscay are down by around 80% according to the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme. Is this due to a reduction in fish stocks, and is this in turn linked to climate change?
The Bay of Biscay is a bit of a special place for me as its where I had one of my best wildlife viewing experiences. Four (long!) days aboard a ferry on a round trip from Portsmouth to Bilbao were rewarded with a great sighting of a fin whale. And the dolphins numbers we saw were huge...in the hundreds.
So where have all the dolphins gone? Seabird sightings have also declined say Marinelife's Biscay Dolphin Research Programme (BDRP) who have been conducting surveys on the P&O ferry "The Pride of Bilbao" for the last 13 years. They are worried that the decline could be more wide-ranging than that indicated by their surveys, and may suggest that fish stocks have either become depleted due to over-fishing or have changed in distribution due to temperature changes. They go on to mention the failure of anchovy fisheries (at an all-time low Biscay anchovies are now on the Marine Conservation Society's fish to avoid list [my apologies here for previously stating this list was complied by the Marine Stewardship Council - many thanks for the feedback]) but are there other factors also involved in the decline?