Sea Watch Foundation

Sea Watch Foundation

At a glance


  • Animals / wildlife

Other details

Geographical remit: 
National - Britain


The Sea Watch Foundation, founded in 1991, is one of Europe’s pre-eminent charities concerned with the protection of whales and dolphins. The organisation comprises a small team of full and part time employees, backed up by volunteers. Sea Watch runs the UK’s annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch and was instrumental in the recent establishment of marine protected areas for harbour porpoise in the UK and European waters. Its monitoring data are routinely used by UK and European Governments in helping to protect whales and dolphins in the seas of NW Europe and its current research projects include investigation of the impact of marine traffic including recreational traffic on a number of whale and dolphin species with a view to establish best practice measures to minimise any impacts. Sea Watch recently were awarded the UNEP/ASCOBANS Conservation Award for Education & Outreach - the first time a UK charity had been honoured by UNEP/ASCOBANS.


Sea Watch's work includes:

1. Monitoring the UK’s whale and dolphin population

Through a network of volunteers, Sea Watch collates and monitors sightings of whales and dolphins.  Sea Watch organises the UK’s annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch. Sea Watch’s databases hold the most comprehensive information that exists on whale and dolphin distribution in UK waters.

2. Research projects

Sea Watch carries out specific studies on particular species and regional conservation problems.

3. Public education

Through publications, the production of a regular newssheet, a web site, social media and the production of other resource material, Sea Watch works to raise public awareness on the status of whales and dolphins and current conservation issues.

4. Dissemination

Sea Watch contributes to scientific and academic journals, popular magazines, workshops, conferences and other events in both the UK and internationally.

5. Informing policy making

Sea Watch’s staff provide international bodies (European Commission, UNEP/ASCOBANS, ICES, OSPAR) and national government (through Defra, DECC) and its statutory agencies (JNCC, NRW, NE, and SNH) with specialised information and expert opinion on whales and dolphins. 

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