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Cruising Association hosts free webinar on 'Orca and Yachts: Fact, Fiction and Fear'

by The Cruising Association 10 May 04:18 UTC 18 May 2023
Feee webinar on 'Orca and Yachts: Fact, Fiction and Fear' © The Cruising Association

The Cruising Association (CA) is hosting a free webinar for members and non-members on 'Orca and Yachts: Fact, Fiction and Fear' at 1900 hours on Thursday 18 May 2023.

The CA is committed to sharing knowledge and enhancing research on the phenomenon of orca interactions along the Iberian Peninsula. The webinar will be presented by John Burbeck, member of the CA Regulatory & Technical Services group (RATS) and lead of the orca project group, who will share valuable insights on the current understanding gained from orca experiences in 2022 and 2023.

At this live webinar, you will discover more about orca behaviour, interaction data and analysis, how to report an interaction or uneventful passage on the CA's central reporting platform, along with information on orca tracking and location maps. The webinar will also share advice on staying safe and risk reduction if sailing in an affected area, including deterrent measures.

The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session. Questions can be submitted during the webinar or emailed in advance to The CA will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible during the live webinar.

Members and non-members will need to register in advance to join via Zoom.

About the CA orca project

Since 2020 there has been a new pattern of behaviour within a population of orcas that feeds on and follows the migration of tuna exiting the Mediterranean from the Strait of Gibraltar and heading West and North around the Iberian Peninsula.

Beginning with a few specifically identified juveniles, the behaviour of bumping/ramming the hulls of small yachts and damaging rudders has expanded to other juveniles and adults. Data gathered by the CA in 2022 shows that around 73% of yachts reporting an interaction were damaged and that around 25% (one third of the damaged yachts) had to be towed to port. Two were so badly damaged they sunk, with no crew harmed and all rescued.

This situation is of great concern to cruising sailors located within or transiting through the affected area and there is only limited evidence led advice available to help. In collaboration with Grupo Trabajo Orca Atlantica (GTOA), a group of Spanish and Portuguese scientists who have been studying the behaviour of the Orcas for some years, the CA has assisted with and expanded the existing study by improving communication with the boating community and enhancing research to learn lessons that will assist crews to avoid interactions and reduce the impact on their boats if an interaction occurs.

The CA receives detailed reports from interactions, as well as reports from yachts sailing without incident through the affected area during a period of interaction activity, enabling comparative data to be analysed to see if any patterns emerge.

Find out more at

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