A selection of links to organisations which may be of interest. You can also find links to our steering group members and DSP accredited operators on the relevant pages listed in the menu.
WiSe (Wildlife Safe) Scheme www.wisescheme.org
WiSe is a training and accreditation scheme for operators of passenger pleasure craft, wildlife cruise operators, dive boats and charter yachts who come into contact with marine wildlife. The DSP and WiSe linked up in March 2006 because the DSP wanted to offer Moray Firth operators training and guidance on how to approach all marine mega-fauna species, not just dolphins, whales and porpoises. Until 2006 the DSP only provided a code of conduct and guidelines for approaching cetaceans. This was due to concerns for the resident bottlenose dolphins, which are a small and vulnerable population. However, in recognition that all marine animals deserve care and respect, we wanted to expand our training and guidelines to include advice on approaching seals, seabirds and basking sharks.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, the DSP linked up with the already established, and well respected WiSe scheme. Nine of the 11 DSP operators are now WiSe accredited as well as being DSP accredited. All WiSe accredited operators will have received instruction on how to handle their craft whilst in contact with any marine mega fauna. All WiSe operators have also received instruction in species identification, life history and behaviour of a range of species that they might encounter.
Wild Scotland www.wild-scotland.org.uk
Wild Scotland is an association of wildlife tourism operators who are passionate about Scotlands natural heritage. Their members offer a variety of accessible and diverse wildlife experiences throughout the year from landrover safaris to walking holidays, birding and boat trips. WildScotland members are dedicated to providing high quality, responsible wildlife experiences that offer the very best in enjoyment. Check out their website for details of members and how to book your trip.
Moray Firth Partnership (MFP), www.morayfirth-partnership.org
The MFP was established in 1996 as a forum to share information, plan and help to implement integrated ways of managing the valuable assets of the Moray Firth. The MFP aim to promote sustainable development and integrated management of the natural, economic, recreational and cultural resources of the Moray Firth area in order to retain and enhance a high quality of life for all its residents. The MFP is made up of a voluntary coalition of organisations and individuals, with over 600 members. The MFP also provide grants for community projects and have generously grant aided the DSP to help with the development of training courses for DSP operators and educational/interpretive materials for accredited tour boats.
Moray Firth Wildlife Centre, http://www.wdcs.org/wildlifecentre
The WDCS Wildlife Centre is based in Spey Bay, at the mouth of the River Spey, on the southern side of the Moray Firth. It's about an hour's drive from Inverness, going east towards Aberdeen. The wildlife centre is run by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and provides the perfect location for learning about the local wildlife and unique environment along this beautiful stretch of Scottish coastline. There's plenty to do at the centre. Have a look around the free exhibition, look out for wild dolphins, seals, ospreys and otters, watch an underwater film in the historic and atmospheric Tugnet Icehouse or take part in one of the regularly scheduled fun and educational events. There's also a fantastic cafe on site with home cooked food, delicious cakes and hot and cold drinks.
Charlie Phillip's Images, http://www.charliephillipsimages.co.uk
Charlie Phillips is a professional wildlife photographer based in the Moray Firth. Many of the most beautiful images on this website are Charlie's, which he has kindly given us permission to use. Charlie is also the Field Officer for WDCS' Adopt-a-Dolphin scheme and can often be found photographing dolphins and dispensing wisdom at Chanonry Point, on the Black Isle. This is a fantastic shore-based dolphin watching location, not to be missed if you are visiting the Moray Firth between May-September.
University of Aberdeen, Lighthouse Field Station, http://www.abdn.ac.uk/zoology/lighthouse
Since 1990, the Lighthouse Field Station has conducted research and teaching on the ecology of seals, dolphins and other marine wildlife. The research focuses on understanding how natural and man-made changes in environmental conditions influence the biology of marine wildlife populations and uses this information to support policy development, conservation action and sustainable resource management. The Field Station is based in old lighthouse keeper's cottage and the Old Buoy Store on Cromarty's harbour front, on the Black Isle.
Friends of the Moray Firth Dolphins, http://www.loupers.co.uk
The Friends of the Moray Firth Dolphins are a community group who provide opportunities for watching and learning more about the Moray Firth dolphins. Members gather sightings data around the Firth and this is passed on to Aberdeen University; Sea Watch, WDCS, the Marine Connection and the Cetacean Research and Rescue unit. The Friends of the Moray Firth Dolphins are also involved in raising awareness about the dolphins with talks and slide shows at schools and community groups.
Green Tourism Business Scheme, http://www.visitscotland.com/sitewide/greentourism
VisitScotland's Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) encourages tourism businesses to be environmentally friendly, whether they be accommodation or tourist attractions. Launched five years ago, the GTBS now has over 420 members, all of whom are rigorously assessed and given a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. They are encouraged to introduce measures such as using low-energy light bulbs, recycling paper, using local produce or promoting wildlife walks and cycle hire in their area. Have a look at their web site to book your green visit to Scotland!
Sustainable Tourism Unit (STU), http://www.greentourism.org.uk
Get more information on sustainable tourism in Scotland from the Sustainable Tourism Unit. Information for visitors and businesses is available, plus the STU newsletter. Find out how to make your visit more environmentally friendly.