Study the marine mammals of the Basque coast

  • Marine mammal study
  • Adults, unaccompanied children aged 12 and over, accompanied children aged 10 and over, families
  • 4 days to 1 week from April to September. Tailor-made dates for groups of 12 or more
  • Basque Country (France)
  • 2000 € tax deduction possible

Embark on a catamaran to track marine mammals off the coast of the Basque Country, in the southern Bay of Biscay. Study the marine mammals of the Basque coast. Once hunted for their meat and oil, the presence of cetaceans is an indicator of the health of the oceans. Indeed, these marine mammals can only evolve in an environment rich in biodiversity, as they feed on fish or plankton, depending on the species. Studying the population of whales and dolphins provides clues about ocean pollution and climate change. Marine mammals move according to ocean temperature. They prefer areas where they can easily feed. By observing cetaceans and their environment, we can determine whether the southern Bay of Biscay remains attractive to them.

The scientific project to monitor cetaceans in Bizkaia

This scientific visit will enrich the national marine environment monitoring program. The data collected is fed into a national database managed by the Pelagis laboratory at the University of La Rochelle.
The study of marine mammals off the Basque coast is also helping to answer a number of questions:

  • Why, 300 years after the end of whaling in the Bay of Biscay, are they no longer visible from the watchtowers on the cliffs?
  •  Have Basque whales and dolphins become abundant again after the massive whaling of the 17th century?
  • What are the causes of fluctuations in the number of individuals in the Bay of Biscay?
  •  Are population trends identical in Brittany and the Azores?

Your contribution to the study of cetaceans in the southern Bay of Biscay

Four full-day outings are scheduled during the week of your scientific stay. You will board a catamaran over 17 meters long and observe the marine mammals. Observations are visual for all species. You practice photo identification and listen to cetacean sounds using hydrophones, all following a rigorous protocol with precise rules for approaching the animals. The data is then sorted and analyzed. The catamaran has a professional crew. You will not take part in the maneuvers.
You'll be monitoring pilot whales in spring, bottlenose dolphins and beaked whales in summer. 

Dates and prices of the scientific stay

  • September 17 to 24, 2023
  • April 13 to 20, 2024
  • September 15 to 22, 2024

Price: €2,000, with tax deductibility of up to 66% depending on your country of residence (€680 after deduction in France).

This scientific stay is tax-deductible

The partner NGO is recognized for the quality, usefulness, solidarity and educational nature of its stays, which enable their participants to advance a genuine project dedicated to science and the resolution of sustainable development objectives, through practical experience. So, in line with the Congés Solidaires tax system, you don't buy a holiday, you make a donation to the NGO, which can then set up the projects, and the participants commit to them as volunteers. The financial contribution to the NGO is therefore tax-deductible in all countries of the European Economic Area (European Union, Switzerland... in France, for example, up to 66%).

  • Adults, unaccompanied children aged 12 and over, accompanied children aged 10 and over, families.
  • Tailor-made dates for groups of 12 or more.
  • Accommodation in vacation centers.
  • In summer, you can go surfing on the beach at Hendaye. Spring and autumn breaks can be taken over 4 days or a week.
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The NGO partner

The partner NGO has Special Consultative Status with the UN (ECOSOC) and is a member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. Specializing in scientific trips, the NGO develops participatory research and believes that education is the driving force behind the Sustainable Development Goals. 

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