'Whale and dolphin bonanza' off Welsh coast

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The Welsh coast has had a weekend to remember, with dozens of sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

An unprecedented 15 Minke whales and even one Humpback whale were seen swimming off the Pembrokeshire coast within 14 hours, according to a report by Wales Online.

In fact the Welsh coast has been attracting whales and dolphins in such large numbers that researchers think it could signal a change in their global behaviour.

Cliff Benson, of Sea Trust South and West Wales, called it a “whale and dolphin bonanza”.

He said: "This weekend we saw 15 Minke whales, we have only seen a total of 31 in all the previous years of monthly research added together since 2004.

"Risso’s dolphin have doubled in number. We are beginning to see trends emerging. It could be because there is plenty of fish here or a sign that fish stocks in the Bay of Biscay (where the dolphins would usually be spotted) are low.”

He explained that some whales, such as Fin whales, have been disappearing from the Bay of Biscay, possibly due to overfishing and climate change.

Mr Benson said: "Fin whales have not been seen in the Bay of Biscay for some time, so fish stocks could be moving north as the climate gets warmer and warms up the sea currents."

The Humpback whale was also a big surprise for Mr Benson and his team. He said: “We would normally expect them to be off Iceland feeding on krill at the moment, or at the Bay of Biscay.”

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