UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme


Information on UK stranded cetaceans has been routinely collected by the
Natural History Museum since 1913 when the historic rights to strandings
were transferred to them by the then Board of Trade. For more information,
please follow the link:

In 1988, an outbreak of phocine distemper virus resulted in the deaths of many thousands of seals throughout European waters. As a result, in 1990 the then UK Department of the Environment initiated the funding of a long-term monitoring programme involving the systematic post-mortem examination of UK-stranded cetaceans. A number of organisations now collaboratively record information on all cetaceans that are found stranded around UK shores and retrieve a proportion of these strandings for examination at post-mortem.

Please click here for information on the organisational
structure of the CSIP and also on recent stranding numbers in the UK.

CSIP timeline

1913 Natural History Museum begins systematic recording of UK stranded cetaceans
1988 PDV epizootic occurs in European waters
1990 Department of Environment initiates funding of cetacean stranding investigation in
England and Wales
1992 Similar strandings investigation project initiated in Scotland
2000 Separate projects amalgamated into single UK strandings investigation programme
2001 Investigation of UK stranded marine turtles is incorporated into CSIP remit
2002 Second major epizootic of PDV in European waters. CSIP lead the UK investigation
2007 Current period of funding begins. Basking shark strandings investigation incorporated
SW2003/84 Stranded sperm whale near Kings Lynn, Norfolk © CSIP ZSL
T2001/2 Leatherback turtle found off Cornwall and retrieved for post-mortem examination at ZSL © CSIP-ZSL

Funded by the organisations below
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Welsh Assembly Government
Scottish Government
Contract manager
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Partnered with the organisations below
Zoological Society of London
Scottish Agricultural College
Natural History Museum
Marine Environmental Monitoring