A CHARITY celebrating ten years of surveying wildlife in the Irish Sea is looking for new volunteers.

Kendalian Rob Petley-Jones, who has been a team leader with ‘MARINElife’ for 10 years, spoke of the abundance of creatures which could be found in and around local waters - including common dolphins, Manx shearwaters and even basking sharks.

Mr Petley-Jones has seen a whole variety of wildlife during his time with the charity. He said: “One of the best moments - I was looking out across a mirror calm surface, looking at porpoises and immediately behind these very small porpoises appeared a Mink Whale, which took my breath away.”

He said that MARINElife was increasingly seeing southerly wildlife in traditionally colder northern waters, suggesting that the ocean was getting warmer. An example of a southerly species being seen more often in the Irish Sea is the Sunfish, with Mr Petley-Jones saying he had also seen a Leatherback Turtle.

He added: “That is indicating that the sea temperatures are warming. It’s all pointing to climate change and the potential impact that that will have on wildlife.”

MARINElife is looking for volunteers to go out and help survey animals along different routes, some of which leave from Liverpool and some from Heysham.

Mr Petley-Jones is leading a course for would-be volunteers this Saturday (August 17) at Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Plumgarth headquarters, just outside Kendal. The cost is £50 for a full day’s training. Contact rob.petley-jones@marine-life.org.uk or tricia.dendle@marine-life.org.uk for more information.

Mr Petley-Jones said: “[People] look out from the shore and may not see terribly much but it’s when you get out on to the sea that you begin to appreciate that there’s an awful lot out there.”