Sea mammals a ‘priority’ with observers assigned to Blackhead Path restoration project

A marine mammal observer at Blackhead Path.
A marine mammal observer at Blackhead Path.

Marine mammals are being given priority consideration as a multimillion pound restoration scheme continues at Blackhead Path.

The contractor is using a ‘soft start’ approach to ensure sea creatures can move away from the coastline with ease, during the rock armour revetment works.

Throughout the course of the project FP McCann has assigned Marine Mammal Observers (MMO) to be in attendance at the start of each working day.

The role of the MMO is to detect mammals in the vicinity of the coastline and advise a delay in the commencement of activity should any be observed.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council explained: “Once the MMO is in position the ‘soft start’ approach with machinery is followed meaning they are not fully revved up for the first 30 minutes to allow marine animals to disperse.

“If the MMO does not observe any marine mammals after 30 minutes, the machinery can be fully revved and work commenced.

“If the MMO does however observe a Marine animal, the observation period is increased for a further 20 minutes.”

The construction works, which commenced earlier this year, will continue through the winter months with the completion date noted for Spring 2020. It includes the stabilisation of the cliff faces and repairs to the coastal network.