ORCA OceanWatch

ORCA OceanWatch involves all who live and work at sea, who can play a significant role in whale and dolphin conservation.  Through this project, we have worked with bridge crews, offshore workers and expedition staff.  Seafarers become citizen scientists, and are trained by ORCA to collect data on whales, dolphins and porpoises that they encounter at sea, as well as learning about threats to these animals, such as ship strike.

Whale Citizen Science

We conduct free training for any interested parties about whale and dolphin identification, conservation and data collection.  We also provide a comprehensive training pack. Bridge crews, offshore workers and expedition crews collect data for us year-round.  For the past 5 years, data collected by seafarers has also contributed to the National Whale and Dolphin Watch.

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We can advise companies and individuals about best measures for a wide range of threats to whales, dolphins and porpoises. 

Threats include, but are not limited to, mitigating ship strike, responsible whale watching practices and reducing marine pollution.

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ORCA OceanWatch Results

This analysis is produced by ORCA each year and is based on marine mammal data collected by seafarers, Wildlife Officers and Marine Mammal Surveyors recording their sightings during a concentrated 9 day period.

Key facts of the 2019 ORCA OceanWatch include:

  • A total of 2201 animals were sighted during a 9 day period

  • Common dolphins were the most seen cetacean with 883 reorded

  • 12 ferry and cruise companies participated

  • 18 species of cetacean recorded

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The ORCA team would like to extend our thanks to our OceanWatch partners and all people and organisations involved. 

Our volunteer surveyors

ORCA volunteers have freely given their time and effort to generate the citizen science which is the foundation of this report. They have all done so with the selfless objective of creating a more complete picture of our whales, dolphins and porpoises, so that they can be afforded greater protection and conservation where this is required. One of the notable findings of their research has been the fluid and transitory nature of whale and dolphin populations, in terms of geography, seasons, location of prey species and so on.

We anticipate just as much change and movement in the future, and look forward to welcoming new generations of volunteers to map the mercurial habits and life cycles of these mysterious animals.

A very special thank you

ORCA OceanWatch would not have been possible without the support of: 

Share your views

How do you think we can we take this data forward?  What should those in power be doing to protect our whales, dolphins and porpoises more? Please get involved and let us know...