CATT – Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking Project
CATT is a long term passive acoustic monitoring project using Chelonia F-POD acoustic loggers.
This project was proposed by Chelonia Limited and is supported by RDUK. CATT is a Citizen Science collaboration between Local Marine Conservation Groups, University of Exeter and University of Plymouth. In addition to tracking trends in small cetaceans we are working with European Tracking Network to capture Fish Intel Open Protocol fish tags. At the end off 2022 CATT extended from Isles of Scilly to Sussex. In 2023 we plan to expand into The Channel Islands and the Bristol Channel. The data we gather is opensourced.
An important part of CATT is local engagement, the F-PODs donated by Chelonia are given to local Marine and Conservation Groups who then work with fishers, tour operators, divers and the local community to find a site that can be serviced every four months by coded, insured operators, and be suitable for continuous monitoring over three to five years.
- Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust
- Sussex Dolphin Project
- Lundy Field Society
- Falmouth Marine Conservation
- Mounts Bay Marine Group
- 3 Bays Wildlife Group
- Friends of Fowey
- Looe Marine Conservation Group
- Wembury Marine Centre
- Newquay Marine Group
- St Agnes Marine Group
Research Development UK Ltd. Have maintained LF-POD 10003 on a Mussel Farm in the River Fal in collaboration with local aquaculture businesses since 3rd December 2021. This F-POD is looking for the return of Harbour Porpoises to these waters and searching for the elusive ‘WUTS’, weak unknown train sources, which were first found in the Carrick Roads and have since been found in Australian Mangrove Swamps, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Alaska and the Baltic Sea. We still don’t know what they are…
Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust – Safeguarding the future of the Island’s finest landscapes.
F-POD 6863. Deployed off St Martin’s 14th June in collaboration with University of Plymouth Fish Intel Project, using existing ARC acoustic releases service by IoS IFCA.
Sussex Dolphin Project – Launched in 2018, as a project of the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), Sussex Dolphin Project is committed to protecting dolphins through Research, Awareness & Education.
Three F-PODs, numbers 6780, 6781 & 6782 deployed off Selsey Bill on 14th March. A collboration with University of Plymouth Fish Intel project sharing existing ARC acoustic releases serviced by IFCA.
Lundy Field Society -The Lundy Field Society in an independent, voluntary group which has been studying all aspects of Lundy’s archaeology, history and natural history since 1946.
F-POD 6551 Deployed off the coast of Lundy as part of a Marine Biology Masters Project summer of 2022. Now looking at extending this deployment using local collaborations.
Falmouth Marine Conservation – Community, Collaboration, Conservation.
F-POD 6735. Falmouth Marine Conservation is a group of active volunteers raising marine awareness to empower their community in protecting the local marine environment.
Falmouth Marine Conservation group alongside Falmouth Harbour has deployed an F-pod in the Carrick Roads. The Marine group will be retrieving data from this device every 4 months to then be analysed. Group members will be trained on how to analyse the data as well as work with students and researchers at The University of Exeter.
In addition to the F-pods, the Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking project is also utilising visual sightings from Falmouth Marine Groups SeaQuest project which conducts monthly marine watches at Pendennis point surveying for Cetaceans and seals. This comprehensive approach allows us to get a more complete picture of cetacean populations and the factors that may be impacting them.
Mounts Bay Marine Group – Mounts Bay Marine Group, established in 2019, is a community group affiliated to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, whose aim is to protect and conserve the local marine environment.
F-POD 6911 in planning for Mounts Bay. A collaboration with Andy Cowie at Atlantic Adventures.
3 Bays Wildlife Group – The virtual home for all things wildlife in the communities between Caerhays and Charlestown.
F-POD 6733 is deployed off Porthpean in collaboration with the Aquaculture Farmers growing mussels in the bay.
Friends of Fowey – to provide a focus for voluntary activities for the conservation of the Fowey Estuary.
F-POD 6862. Deployed 18th July with the support of Royal Fowey Yacht Club onto their race mark.
Looe Marine Conservation Group – want you to discover, explore and learn more about this very special area, which encompasses Looe Island, the seashore from the Hore Stone to the Limmicks and the tidal reaches of the East and West Looe Rivers.
F-POD 6912. Collaboration with University of Plymouth, deployed off Rame Head from the CEFAS Boat alongside a ‘Soundtrap’.
Wembury Marine Centre – For 27 years, Wembury Marine Centre (Devon Wildlife Trust) has worked tirelessly to protect Wembury’s marine environment and continues to do so today and for the foreseeable future.
F-POD 6303. Collaboration with the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Sound Divers. Deployed on an Historic wreck site by the protected site licensee.
Newquay Marine Group – Working together for a common interest: To enjoy, share, promote, protect and learn about Newquay’s amazing marine environment and the incredible life that shares our shores.
F-POD 7005. Collaboration with local fishers, deployed onto fixed fishing gear off Towan Head.
St Agnes Marine Conservation Group – The St Agnes Marine Conservation Group is entirely run by volunteers to promote the St Agnes Voluntary Marine Conservation Area and help everyone to enjoy and appreciate the fantastic wildlife and wild places St Agnes has to offer.
F-POD 6734. Collaboration with local fishers, deployed onto fixed fishing gear off St Agnes Head.
2022 CATT F-POD Deployments 2023 Planned CATT F-POD Deployments
The CATT project follows a similar project ‘BlackCeTrends’ in Black Sea, and builds on experience of two highly successful projects: ‘SAMBAH’ that used the C-POD to establish the continued existence and distribution of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise, and the monitoring of the catastrophic decline of the Vaquita – an endemic porpoise species in Mexico.
The main aim of CATT is to achieve long term monitoring using a flexible mixture of citizen science and platforms of opportunity provided with sharing of data, training, and outreach to maximise the benefits. These will include:
- insights into local patterns of cetacean activity of particular interest to participating citizen groups
- data on cetacean activity of value to marine science and conservation.
- opportunities for Master’s projects and larger academic studies.
- opportunities for training in relevant skills including handling and analysing the data set.
- opportunities for raising awareness of ocean life.
Joe Dennett and Meg Hayward Smith work under the banner of Research Development UK (RDUK) as contractors of Chelonia Ltd to setup the CATT project. We consider local engagement and local ownership an important part of sustaining this project over the long term so we are keen that CATT is presented as a project owned and delivered locally with support from Chelonia / RDUK, as and when needed.
RDUK has experimented with a range of mooring and tracking options over the past three years. Every site needs careful consideration for safety and environmental factors.
Moorings are always the biggest challenge. CATT is a five year minimum project so solutions must be long term, easily serviceable, within all relevant regulations and acceptable to the local fishers and communities. Some sites are taking years to bring all these things together. The safest solution is usually to share an existing proven site and use our monitoring to add value to the existing research.