The European Atlantic is changing rapidly and it is essential that EU Member States have access to up-to-date robust information on the status of key species so that future monitoring can be directed effectively and efficiently to achieve and maintain favourable conservation status of species and good environmental status of European Atlantic waters. Consequently, the objective of SCANS-III is to estimate the abundance of all cetacean species in shelf and oceanic waters of the European Atlantic in summer 2016. This is aimed to be achieved through a large-scale multinational aerial and shipboard survey of all European Atlantic waters in July 2016. This will ensure that results are comparable with those from previous surveys conducted in 1994, 2005 and 2007.
Survey transects will be sailed by the survey vessel, with observers recording sightings of marine mammals which are seen. No physical samples will be taken, no fishing or seismic undertaken and the vessel will not break track to follow marine mammals. In addition to visual observations, underwater acoustic data will be recorded using an underwater microphone towed behind the vessel. This does not emit any signal - it is just a passive recording device.