British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2006-05-11 15:39:57

Porpoise monitored in Manchester Ship Canal

Had a call from a Nature Reserve at Moore, Warrington regarding a large porpoise in the Manchester Ship Canal. The porpoise has passed through a lock gate and in now in a two mile stretch of canal. Local Medic Kathryn Clarke is on her way to get a better identification and description of the cetacean and its activity.

We have also had a call from the Environment Agency who have asked to be kept informed too. The canal here is about 60metres wide and about 30-35ft deep. It is brackish water up to Warrington and there is a good supply of fish. I have spoken to RSPCA Inspector Roland Parkes who is a BDMLR medic at Chester and he is willing to be involved if necessary and has asked to be kept informed.

I have spoken to the Manchester Ship Canal Company and spoken and person who I spoke to has never seen any cetaceans in the canal before, but is aware that in the local news a dolphin was reported in the River Mersey near by and there has been a cetacean in the canal before but is not sure what the outcome was.

Regional Co-ordinator Dave Williams is due to visit the site this afternoon to undertake a better assessment of the situation and possible options available, but these are thought to be very limited if any at this stage.

Further up-date will follow.

Trevor Weeks
National Co-ordinator

Update: 12.10hrs
Kathryn Clarke has reported that the cetacean is a porpoise 4-5ft long. No obvious injuries, breathing normally, doesn't seemed stressed at all and staying out in the middle of the canal. Medic Mark Ellingham has joined Kathryn Clarke on site and they are observing the porpoise for the moment.

Update: 23.00hrs
Dave Williams (local BDMLR Coordinator) visited the canal late afternoon and in to the evening. The porpoise had moved up to Latchford Locks at Warrington. This is approximately 21 miles inland. The porpoise appears fit and healthy. After about 90 minutes the porpoise suddenly decided to turn and head off back down stream.

Monitoring and observation will take place over the next few days and investigations will continnue into possible courses of action if a rescue is required.

12th May, 10.50hrs
Latest sighting is at Latchford Lock, Warrington. Various large vessels will pass through the area today. The animal has been seen bow riding in the area. BDMLR medics will be monitoring the animals' behaviour.

Tony Woodley

Update: 3th May, 09.00hrs
The last sighting of the porpoise was at 12.15hrs on the 12th May. The animal was seen swimming seawards, towards the Chester Bridge at Warrington ( map HERE ). BDMLR Medics will return to the area today to try and sight it but it is a huge area of water and we ask that if anyone sights the porpoise, to call BDMLR on 01825 765546.

Tony Woodley

Update: 14th May
No sightings since 12th May. Staff at locks and on canal ferry keeping an eye out for the animal. BDMLR no longer monitoring due to size of area. Will repond to call if animal is sighted again.