In the UK, the Bottlenose Dolphin is identified as a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. In Europe it is classed as in need of strict protection under Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive, and under Annexe II there is a requirement to designate special areas to help conserve the species.
This is an uncommon species in North East waters, though there has been an increase in sightings in recent years, and in coastal waters it is now perhaps as likely to be seen as White-beaked Dolphin. Groups of up to 25 are irregularly recorded in all seasons and over a wide area, but especially in shallow bays and harbours off the Durham and Northumberland coastlines. In the early 1990s, a lone and sociable Bottlenose Dolphin ‘Freddie’ was semi-resident in and around Amble Harbour.