Cetaceans are at risk of decreasing population sizes and even local extinction due to continuous threats to them and their habitats. These threats include capture and drowning in fishing gear, sound disturbance, marine pollution and over-fishing.
Sea Watch Foundation is a national charity working to improve the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises in British and Irish waters.
- Monitoring the numbers and locations of whales and dolphins in order to gain valuable knowledge of the health of our marine environment, and insight into the effects of chemical pollution, noise disturbance, over-fishing, accidental capture in fishing gear and climate change
- Involving the public in scientific monitoring
- Raising awareness and understanding of marine mammals and the threats they face
- Educating, informing and advising for better environmental protection
Sea Watch Foundation, through its continuous programme of research and monitoring, provides invaluable information on changes to the status and distribution of cetacean populations and the condition of their habitats. This is used to raise awareness of any issues and prompt environmental change to help conserve and protect these mysterious creatures.
Sea Watch’s work could not be completed without the help of numerous hard-working volunteers, both in the office and in the field. There is also a network of regional coordinators and volunteer observers all around the UK coastline who are dedicated to providing data and support to Sea Watch through recording and reporting all sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
The information gathered by Sea Watch and our network of observers has been the primary source of knowledge about the relative status and distribution of cetacean around the British Isles.
Conservation and protectionSea Watch Foundation works tirelessly with environmental and government bodies to provide information, data and evidence leading to the better protection and conservation of cetacean populations in British and Irish waters. The conservation of any wild animal or plant is largely dependent upon continuous monitoring. Without such data it is impossible to assess and amend status on a regular basis. Monitoring populations also enables the identification of general distribution patterns, important areas for different species, behavioural responses to human activities and effects on reproduction. Without the monitoring and survey work undertaken by Sea Watch, this information would not be available. A comprehensive system of survey and monitoring is crucial for the survival of marine mammals.
Scientific ResearchSea Watch Foundation initiates projects throughout the UK. Intensive studies have taken place in the Northern Isles, Hebrides, Grampian region, east coast of England, Irish Sea and English Channel.
InformationSea Watch Foundation produces fact sheets, posters, films, newsletters, study reports and scientific papers, and has a regularly updated website where recent sightings are posted.
EducationSea Watch Foundation organises school visits, university and community lectures and specialist interest workshops. Sea Watch also helps to keep the public informed on marine mammal research by working closely with the media, government, environmental partners and industries.