Sighting project

NameIdentification of important habitats in the German Baltic Sea for porpoises and seals by incidental sightings and stranded animals
SponsorBaltic Sea Research Foundation, AIDA Freunde der Meere e.V.
DurationFebruary 2014 to June 2016
Cooperation partnerLangebartels&Jürgens, Ostsee2012, Gesellschaft zum Schutz der Meeressäugetiere e.V.
Project management GOMDr. Harald Benke
Project staff GOMDipl.-Biol. Anne Herrmann

The sighting project use incidental sightings and stranded marine mammals of the Baltic Sea to identify importance areas for harbour porpoises and seals. Reported sightings are available for the public and shown in an interactive map.

Harbour porpoises, the only resident whales in the Baltic Sea, have become rare in the Baltic Sea. Only a few hundred porpoises may be left east of Rügen. Unfortunately these toothed whales are exposed to many dangers such as accidental bycatch in fishing nets, acoustic impacts of increased shipping traffic and construction work at sea, overfishing of their food source and chemical pollution of surface waters.

Nevertheless, sailors and other members of the general public often have the opportunity to observe these special animals in their natural habitat. With the report of your sightings you can provide a personal contribution to the protection of the harbour porpoises.

A lack of knowledge about the exact population size and the distribution of the Baltic harbour porpoises require the collection of more data about the animals. Each message of a porpoise sighting provides important information on the population and behaviour and helps our scientists to develop a comprehensive protection for these endangered animals.

The aim of the Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals (GSM) is to counteract the decline of porpoises in the Baltic Sea. Therefore the project “Sailors on the Lookout for Harbour Porpoises” was launched 2002. 2011 the German Oceanographic Museum continued this project.

Sailors on the Lookout for Harbor Porpoises - from the sighting to the map

The sightings are shown in an interactive map with detailed information. Since 2012 each reported sighting could be tracked in the map within a short time.

All stranded marine mammals from the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania reported to the German Oceanographic Museum are collected and investigated for health condition and cause of death. With your report you help us to explore the marine mammals and the localization of importance habitats. The data are used, for example, to maintain and extend the existing protection concepts for the animals.

We would like to thank all of you which report sightings of marine mammals and support the project!


Stranded marine mammals

If you have seen a stranded marine mammal at the German Baltic Sea please call the German Oceanographic Museum immediately:

Tel.: +49 (0) 3831 2650 3333

Report sighting

Every report provides important information about the population and the behaviour of the marine mammals. With the  report of your sighting you make a contibution to the protection of threatened marine mammals and support the research. Please report sightings of harbour porpoises of the river Weser, Jade, Ems and Elbe to the Societey for Saving Dolphins (GRD).

Report by using the App OstSeeTiere

Have you seen marine mammals of the Baltic Sea (e.g harbour porpoises, grey seals, harbour seals) during a beach hike or boat trip? With the App OstSeeTiere, freely available for all Android and iOS devices, you can report your sighting quick and easy.

Download iOS version

Download Android version

Report by using online form

If you want to use the online form you can report your sighting <link wissenschaft infothek sichtung-melden>here.

Report offline

You can also report your sighting by using the offline formula which is available as pdf or word document. The form can send per email (sichtungen{at}, fax or mail to the German Oceanographic Museum.


Deutsches Meeresmuseum  
Katharinenberg 14-20                                                                           
18439 Stralsund (Germany)

Tel: +49 (0) 3831 2650 210                                                                   
Fax: +49 (0) 3831 2650 309

Email: sichtungen{at}