Our environmental partners

Raising awareness of environmental issues

We've worked with several different charities, scientific institutions and environmental projects over the years to help raise awareness of the need to protect our marine environment. We also add research technology to our ships and like to welcome environmental charities and research projects such as ORCA and Marinexus on board to meet our customers and give talks. And, of course, there are our whale and dolphin watching cruises.

ORCA

We work with leading marine conservation charity ORCA to offer passengers a fascinating insight into the whales and dolphins of the Bay of Biscay - one of the world's most important habitats for these amazing animals.

This partnership involves ORCA's Wildlife Officers living and working on board Brittany Ferries' crossings to Spain right through the summer and autumn. Not only are they on hand to help passengers make sightings of whales and dolphins and identify any animals encountered, but they also give fun and informative presentations about these highly complex and intelligent mammals, and the delicate ecosystems they inhabit.

SAHFOS

Partners for over 40 years, Brittany Ferries has been working with the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) since 1973. SAHFOS is a Plymouth-based internationally-funded independent research organisation that is responsible for the operation of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey. Monitoring the health of the oceans since 1931, the survey is the longest running and most geographically extensive marine ecological survey in the world.

The CPR is a sampling device that is deployed, towed and recovered each month by the ferry on our Plymouth to Roscoff route. It collects and preserves the marine plankton for later counting and identification under a microscope by a dedicated team of analysts. In September 2015, the 400th tow was successfully completed on the Plymouth to Roscoff route, with all tows completed by Brittany Ferries - that's the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe (21,600 nautical miles).

Plankton are highly sensitive indicators of environmental change and provide essential information on the ecological health of our seas.  By monitoring changes and the behaviour of these organisms, SAHFOS can advise and educate a number of sectors including fisheries, shipping corporations, oil and gas companies, marine policy and ocean science. The samples collected on the Plymouth to Roscoff route have contributed to research on major issues such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity whilst the findings have influenced maritime policy nationally and internationally.

University of Exeter

We also help the University of Exeter carry out research on bat migration and, in August 2013, we installed detector devices on the mast of Pont-Aven which are still in place today. Professors at the University are continually analysing the data collected from our bat detectors, to find out when and where bats are recorded at sea.

In December 2013, a Nathusius Pippistriel (a bat no bigger than a human thumb) was discovered near the coast in Friesland, The Netherlands, with a tag in it that identified where it had started its voyage - Blagdon near Bristol. This discovery revealed that bats are evidently flying over the sea to reach mainland Europe. This shows just how valuable Brittany Ferries' support in the data collection of the movement of these tiny mammals could be.

Doctor Fiona Matthews from the University of Exeter says "With so much water to cover, finding bats offshore is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are some very old historical records made by ships' captains of flocks of bats at sea: what we now need to find out is whether bat migration is a regular event and what routes they take."

To find out more visit the University of Exeter website.

Marinexus

Marinexus is a research project created to identify and monitor changes in the marine ecosystems of the western Channel, with a particular focus on those relating to human activity. It aims to raise awareness of the marine environment and the need for conservation, especially amongst children.

This is why Brittany Ferries and Marinexus, together, try to make marine biology fun for kids by providing onboard workshops for 8-12 year olds on sailings between Roscoff and Plymouth during the summer holidays. As well as these onboard workshops for kids, there are also lectures and seashore excursions on offer in Roscoff (in August and September) with the aim to help promote a greater respect for the environment.