Words by Niru Dorrian & Ash Kitchiner (www.MMO-Association.org)
The Marine Mammal Observer Association (MMOA) is a membership-based association that aims to bring together and represent individuals who work professionally as Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs), Protected Species Observers (PSO) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Operators who implement mitigation measures to protect marine life during industry operations. The association and our members understand how important it is to protect the environment, so we loved Cotton Carrier products and their eco-friendly practices.
If you were wondering what an MMO/PSO is, read on and hear about awe-inspiring coastal and marine adventures. An MMO/PSO is a professional environmental consultant with a relevant biological science background specialising in marine mammals and other protected marine megafauna such as turtles and whale sharks among others. In recent years there has been increased concern for the effect of anthropogenic (human-caused) noise pollution in the ocean (e.g., seismic surveys, pile-driving from marine construction and shipping), particularly upon whales, dolphins, porpoises, as they are known to be sensitive to sound. An MMO/PSO and PAM will implement regulations in the field to help mitigate the effects of underwater noise.
The role requires skills in data collection and a keen eye to identify species, usually whilst onboard moving vessels and sometimes in rough sea states. As you can imagine, it can be challenging to hold the weight of your camera, binoculars, notepad, and warm coffee whilst trying to stay standing up. Our members need binoculars to help identify animals, but a camera helps if we only caught a fleeting glimpse of the animal and couldn’t identify it at the time; this is where a binocular and camera harness can come in handy. The products by Cotton Carrier have helped our members to collect vital data on marine megafauna whilst taking the weight off our shoulders, distributing it, and helping us be handsfree when in rough weather or even conducting coastal monitoring surveys.
As an association, we knew our members would benefit from these great products and be in line with the ethics and sustainable values of Cotton Carrier, so we reached out. We have been in contact with them since 2020 and have been able to offer our members prizes and discounts on these products, something we are very grateful for. Our members have shared some great photos of them using Cotton Carrier harnesses, and you can see how happy they are to be hands-free. As an aside, these pictures do not represent the actual rough weather most often experienced at sea .