A BRIDPORT charity wants fishermen and sea-goers to help monitor what lies beneath Lyme Bay.

MARINElife is set to appeal for Lottery funding for a new citizen science project called Dolphins On Our Doorstep.The charity is also urging community groups and businesses to step forward and get involved in the project.

Rachel Davies, conservation manager for MARINElife, said: "We already have people who send in their sightings - so we will be hoping to recruit local sea-goers like fishermen and even groups like Bridport Gig Club and help them understand what the species actually are that people see.

"People do not know what they are looking at. We will see a picture popping up of a dolphin on the Bridport News website that someone has sent, but we want to be able to collect all the sightings that people find in Lyme Bay and we are even able to identify the specific animals and where they have been. We want people to know that the information is out there.

"It's really important that we are monitoring them and any changes. It is such useful information that people have, but they do not know where to send it."

The national charity does a lot of its work in Lyme Bay, and it is keen to learn more about dolphin populations along the Jurassic Coast.

Ms Davies added: "One of our regional key interest areas is Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast, where we are lucky enough to observe a fantastic diversity of marine species, from Europe’s most southerly population of white-beaked dolphins, to the globally critically endangered Balearic Shearwater.

"We want to enthuse and engage local coastal communities in their local populations of dolphins, which many are unaware inhabit our coastline."

The charity is also hoping to provide internships for people wanting to launch a career in the industry.

Ms Davies added: "We aim to build a Jurassic Coast community network of citizen science participants from Swanage to Lyme Regis, allowing them to share their experiences and sightings through a variety of media and we hope to promote a sense of community ownership and pride in this regional natural heritage.

"Within this project, we also plan to provide one to two internships a year for two years, for local early career researchers and recent education leavers, to gain much sought after work experience in the field of conservation.

"We hope the local community finds the proposal as exciting as we do and we would be very much interested in hearing from individuals and local businesses or organisations interested in supporting our project - for example through in-kind provision of a venue for training workshops or especially any offices that may be able to provide one or two desk spaces for these local interns."

Anyone who is interested in supporting the project and any businesses that can offer desk spaces, should email rachel.davies@marine-life.org.uk