We started monitoring cetaceans from the bridges of the Stena Line ferries more than 15 years ago, between Hook of Holland and Harwich (UK). Whilst crossing the North Sea we started our work already international. However, the work becomes more international every year, bit by bit.
Not only the work on the ferries together with British ORCA and Marine Life is international, but we also work together with the American Golden Gate cetacean research organization in San Francisco, we are starting with Studio Porpoise in South Africa. And recently we started off with our Whale Poo Ambassadors team. Special attention and webpages are under development as is our South African Whale Excursion in August 2021.
Stena Line ferry monitoring on North Sea
Soon after the beginning of our North Sea ferry monitoring on the Stena Line ferries, in 2005, we made contact with the Britsh organisation ORCA. They supplied us with an already used format for data notification on ferries. Later with seeveral other British, Irish, French and Spanish organisation we informally formed ARC, the Atlantic Research Coalition.
ARC developed into ECMC, the European Ceatacean Monitroing Coalition. Together we standardised our formats and ways of monitoring. As a gropup we supplied the Britsh JNNC (Joint Nature Conservation Coalition). Not all partners are still active within the ECMC, but ORCA and Rugvin are still supplying data for international oriented institutions and governmental bodies.
Our international network
With a past in Scotland, see history, we developed more international contacts and a growing network. The presence at the conferences of the European Cetacean Society and the World Marine Mammal Conference let us build further on this network. Now we have regular contacts with several Britsh, Spanish, Belgium and German organisations.
With the Rugvin director, Frank Zanderink, being apointed as a ECS Council member we will have the possibilities to develop our international network further.
Studio Porpoise / Studio Bruinvis
Studio Porpoise received a lot of attention in the local and national media. It has been exposed several times in newspapers and on the radio and television. And there was even international interest from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) who published an article in their handbook about Studio Bruinvis as a case study.
Due to the built-in counter, we know that the Studio has now had more than 11,000 button presses (February 2020), with multiple listeners at a time.
We are now working on a similar installation in Cape Town South Africa.
Where to go and watch whales, dolphins, and porpoises
Working at sea brings almost automatically international contacts. But we, as staff of Rugvin, and many other people like to travel and watch whales and dolphins everywhere in the world. For this matter, we developed a never finished information world map and pages where nature lovers and travellers can get inspired and informed about where to watch whales and dolphins.
These web pages are the best-visited pages of our website at the moment. People are asked to share their experiences with us for publication on our website.
In 2019 a special trip was made to South Africa to make contact with South African researchers and whale watch operators in order to set up different kinds of cooperations, such as exchange of students, establishing Studio Porpoise in South Africa, organising a South African excursion in 2021.
English publications and photo ID
From time to time we publish English articles about our researches. And we do exchange our findings and data with foreign organisations. Like for our Photo ID project, we work together with the Golden Gate Cetacean Research in San Francisco
Also, most of our Students (many have an international background) do research within our organisations and publish their findings in English reports.
For the WWF we wrote a report about the harbour porpoise in the North Sea in Dutch and English. The English version “The Harbour porpoise, the smallest cetacean of the North Sea” was issued internationally In Norway, Belgium amongst other countries.