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ORCA Marine Mammal Surveys End of Season Summary 2023

Picture of ORCA surveyor

Teams of 4 or 3 trained volunteer ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyors conducted 26 surveys for marine megafauna from the bridge of 5 Caledonian MacBrayne routes in 2023. The majority of the volunteer ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyors conducting these surveys are local citizens, so are stewards of their waters, playing an active role in marine conservation.


Total number of surveys



Total number of routes

5, including 1 new route



  • Mallaig-Lochboisdale (new survey route for 2023, 1 survey)

  • Oban-Castlebay (6 surveys)

  • Oban-Tiree-Coll-Colonsay (8 surveys)

  • Ullapool-Stornoway (6 surveys)

  • Uig-Lochmaddy-Tarbert (5 surveys)

ORCA Ocean Conservationist Peter on board the MV Isle of Mull with passengers on the Three Isles Tour.



Total number of individual animals recorded

1,054 - this is 326 more than in 2022


Total number of species recorded

11 - same number as in 2022

The harbour porpoise


Species recorded

7 different species of whale, dolphin or porpoise were recorded. 2 seal species, 1 walrus and 1 shark (basking).

The below map details of all the animals sighted along the survey routes.

ORCA sightings 2023 map

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