THE number of bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth appears to be stable – allaying any fears that they have fallen.
A report published this week by Scottish Natural Heritage states that about 200 dolphins call Scotland’s North Sea coast their home, with more than a hundred frequently using the Moray Firth.
But despite the research carried out by the University of Aberdeen, the population – the most northerly in the world – is still considered to be vulnerable.
Recognised as a major tourist attraction, the dolphins are said to generate upwards of £4million per year for the local economy.
Welcoming the news, Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead said: "You only have to pop down to the Spey Bay Dolphin Centre to see just how popular dolphin spotting is.
"Stable bottlenose dolphin numbers of the east coast is great for our marine environment, as well as our local economy.
"It is incredibly important that we continue to do all we can to protect them and our marine environment."