Marine mammals in Belgium

Created Sept. 8, 2021, 4:35 p.m.
Updated Aug. 10, 2022, 8:13 a.m.

Collecting data on strandings and sightings of marine mammals is important as such data can provide us with a lot of information about marine mammals, their population trends, problems they face, and eventually on the condition of the marine environment in general.


The aim is to gather all Belgian marine mammal observations and strandings. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) has been responsible for coordinating research into the strandings and cause of death of marine mammals in Belgium since the early 1990s. The institute produces annual reports on observations and strandings of marine mammals in Belgium with the collaboration of SEALIFE Blankenberge and the Universities of Liège and Ghent.

These reports describe a part of the implementation of the Royal Decree on Marine Species Protection, and its production is only possible thanks to the support of many volunteers, other institutions and  coastal authorities. Interested readers can download the report at (available in Dutch and French, with English summary).

How to participate

If you observe a stranded seal or dolphin, or a group of them, you should do the following:

Found a helpless living seal (harbour seal, common seal) on the beach?

Found a dead or helpless dolphin or porpoise on the beach?

  • Call RBINS/OD Nature in Ostend on 059/70 01 31 or mail on
  • Call local police or fire brigade
  • For transporting small sea mammals (seals, porpoises and small dolphins), the OD Nature has special equipment standby.

Found a large cetacean on the beach?

Observations of live marine mammals and strandings of turtles can be reported to OD Nature:

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