The North East is highlighted by a new report as a “hotspot” for large marine wildlife in need of added protection.
The Wildlife Trusts want to see the newly identified special areas on which whales, dolphins and basking sharks most depend protected by law.
The stretch of Northumberland coast from Farnes East to Coquet Island and on to St Mary’s Island in North Tyneside is singled out for its importance for white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise and minke whale.
Last month The Journal reported how 2013 set a new record for whale, dolphin and harbour porpoise sightings off the North East coast.
The Farne Islands Wildlife Report for 2013, published by the Natural History Society of Northumbria, revealed that there were a total of 138 sightings of cetaceans.
The 30 sightings of minke whale were described as “exceptional” and there were 10 occasions when dolphins were seen.
It was also a record year for harbour porpoise, with 95 sightings.
A basking shark has also been seen this year.
Aurelie Bohan, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Living Seas officer said: ”The Northumberland coast and associated offshore waters play a very important role for white-beaked dolphin which prefer temperate and colder waters and relatively shallow seas.
“The sea,directly off our coast is ideal habitat.
“It is very important to point out that this proposal is about recognising the importance this area plays for white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise and minke whale.
“It is not calling for changes to current management - this is not about restrictions or closures to fisheries within the North Sea area.”
The Wildlife Trusts are urging the public to sign an e-action which calls on the Government to protect the 17 mega fauna hotspots named in the report, out on Tuesday.
Go to www.wildlifetrusts/oceangiants for more details.