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Marine strandings app will build 'health map' of beaches

The public is being asked to help improve the recording of marine wildlife found stranded.

New app: Ellie MacLennan from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme.
New app: Ellie MacLennan from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme. John Paul

The public is being asked to help improve the recording of marine wildlife found stranded on Scotland's beaches.

The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (Smass) has launched a new app which can be used for uploading information on pollution found on shorelines, as well as any stranded animals such as dolphins or whales.

Launched on Saturday to coincide with the beginning of National Marine Week, the Beach Track app will help to build up a "health map" of Scotland's coastline, potentially targeting beach cleans to areas which need it most.

The app was developed by Inverness-based Smass with additional funding from Scottish Natural Heritage.

Ellie MacLennan, from Smass - part of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), said: "Including the islands, Scotland has more than 10,000 miles of coastline so, the more eyes we have on the ground, the more data we can gather to help improve our understanding of health of our waters and the threats facing marine animals.

"This, in turn, will help all of us to better protect our seas.

"Beach Track is a fantastic tool, allowing anyone taking a stroll, walking their dog or even just enjoying a picnic to contribute to one of the world's largest and most extensive datasets on marine strandings and beach health.

"Users should also remember that telling us about a clean stretch of beach is just as important as logging a stranding."

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