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A force of nature

Meet David Nairn. He is the founder of Clyde Porpoise CIC and he currently work delivering environmental projects on the Clyde.

His home is the Firth of Clyde, an area he is fighting like no other to protect. The Firth of Clyde is located on the west coast of Scotland and contains the deepest waters of the British Isles, reaching 164 m deep and hosts a large marine biodiversity, including many residents and visiting marine mammal species.

David has a background in marine biology and has always been interested in ocean conservation. He set up the Clyde Porpoise project in 2016. but has been working relentlessly to raise awareness about porpoises and the need to protect of the Clyde for a long time. He has participated in and organised countless outreach activities, including giving talks in community centres to people of all ages, as well as participating in events in schools. He also runs and engages in many projects that directly involve members of the local community, providing opportunities to participate in his acoustic survey trips.

Over the years, David has collaborated with researchers from different Institutes and Universities in Scotland and elsewhere, providing data, opportunities for joint projects, and his full support. David has a generous spirit and is always happy to help others. He is also one of the most principled people I know.

When David began his efforts to monitor harbour porpoises in the Clyde, the scientific community and the local authorities were hesitant about how important the Clyde was for porpoises. But that didn’t stop him. He raised funds and carried out the first systematic and thorough surveys focused on harbour porpoises in the area. His beautiful 40-foot sailing vessel Saorsa tows a 4-hydrophone array connected to PAMGuard, a software via which he can record the underwater sounds, including porpoise vocalisations, to analyse them later.

In four years, David has surveyed thousands of km and accumulated hundreds of porpoise detections, revealing the Clyde is a high-density and important area for harbour porpoises, leading to the identification of hot spots. This knowledge only strengthened his determination to protect them.

[Pic of porpoise in the Clyde]

I met David at the beginning of my PhD, in late 2016, and I have since received nothing but his support. He selflessly gave me everything I needed for my project and took me out on fieldwork. His love for porpoises is now my love too. But most of all, he offered me his friendship.

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