European Cetacean Monitoring Coalition (ECMC)

European Cetacean Monitoring Coalition

In 2001, the Atlantic Research Coalition (ARC) was initiated in an effort to provide vital pan-European monitoring data on the distribution and abundance of whales and dolphins (cetaceans) and seabirds by bringing together marine conservation organisations operating in adjacent areas of ocean.

ARC has since become the European Cetacean Monitoring Coalition (ECMC) in 2014 and is Europe's largest partnership of ferry-based surveying organisations, currently consisting of 7 NGOs and research groups across 4 European countries, also with historical data from a further 4 groups, altogether representing England, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain and Wales.

ECMC Mission:
To improve the long term conservation benefit for European cetaceans through the collection and dissemination of high quality research and supporting evidence.

These marine research groups have been independently carrying out systematic surveys for marine wildlife using similar research methodology from commercial ferries in NE Atlantic waters between France, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and the UK since the early 1990s. By pooling research findings, the ECMC partners aim to generate a larger and more powerful body of data which can be used to provide species updates on a European scale.

Map Members

                                          ECMC Partners

Current active and now defunct ECMC ferry survey routes 

Current activity includes monthly sampling on 31 ferry routes crossing UK waters (combined survey track length per month is ca. 11,000km), whilst our joint database includes data from further defunct routes, and dates back to 1995.  


Our aim is to provide up-to-date and timely population distribution and abundance data at a regional (EU) scale, from data collected by dedicated, repeated surveys along fixed transects using ferries as research platforms.

As a lead organisation in ECMC, MARINElife plays a pivotal role in coordinating data analysis across the partnership and presenting research to decision makers and funding organisations.

We also work with organisations wishing to initiate ferry-based research in their own countries and facilitate them joining ECMC.

For more information about ECMC please visit the ECMC website: