Bottlenose Dolphins
White-beaked dolphins
Rissos' Dolphin
Minke Whale surfacing

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...

The Common Dolphin is identified as a Priority Species (Grouped Plan for Dolphins) in the UK Government's Biodiversity Action Plan and is classed in Europe as in need of strict protection under Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive. Threats to the species include accidental drowning in pair trawling fishing nets, which target the Bass fishery off south west Britain.

Formerly a rare species in the North Sea, sightings have increased in recent numbers possibly due to increases in water...

The Harbour Porpoise is subject to  a number of UK and European policy and legislation protection measures, due to its vulnerability to accidental capture and drowning in fishing nets. In the UK it 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.

In the...

The Killer Whale is identified as a Priority Species (Grouped Plan for Toothed Whales) in the UK Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan and in Europe is classed as in need of strict protection under Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive.

In the North East it is a rare migratory species, with individuals presumably from the large population (in excess of several thousand) which occurs in the Norwegian Sea between and around Norway and Iceland.   Most recent records include 6 off...

The Minke Whale is identified as a Priority Species (Grouped Plan for Baleen Whales) in the UK Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan and in Europe is classed as in need of strict protection under Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive.

It is uncommon, but recorded annually, usually   in one’s and two’s in coastal waters, particularly in the vicinity of the Farne Islands and Whitby.  Other favoured areas include Druridge Bay, Filey Brigg and Whitburn.  Further offshore...

The Pilot Whale is identified as a Priority Species (Grouped Plan for Toothed Whales) in the UK Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan and in Europe is classed as in need of strict protection under Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive.

In the North East it is a scarce migratory species from the deeper waters of the Norwegian Sea and the European Atlantic, where it mainly feeds on squid.  Recent records (both in March) include off Blyth in 2007 and Cresswell in 2009.  Also...

The Risso’s Dolphin is identified as a Priority Species (Grouped Plan for Dolphins) in the UK Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan and is classed in Europe as in need of strict protection under Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive.

It is rare species in the North East, though the number of records is increasing, particularly off the Northumberland coast (e.g. Alnmouth in May 2008 and Blyth in October 2008).  In particular, there have been several recent records from the Farne...

The White-beaked Dolphin is identified as a Priority Species (Grouped Plan for Dolphins) in the UK Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan and is classed in Europe as in need of strict protection under Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive.

It is a northern cold water species, with the North Sea an internationally important stronghold. White-beaked is the commonest dolphin in the region, and is widely distributed, occurring mainly offshore (in waters more than 50m deep).  Could be...

1-2 Humpback Whales were present off the Northumberland coast ranging between the Farne Islands and Newton by the Sea in September 2009. They have also been recorded off Whitby in recent years. A Sperm Whale was recorded off Whitburn and North Gare, Teeside in April 2008. Recent reported records for White-sided Dolphins include off Seaton Sluice in July 2006 and Sunderland in July 2007.