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Joint Cetacean Data Programme

The JCDP vision:

Promote and facilitate cetacean data standardisation and maximise value through collation and enabling of universal access

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Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are highly mobile species that inhabit an environment that is challenging for us to observe and understand. Cetacean data are important for drawing accurate conclusions on population size, dynamics and changes over time.

These data are collected by a wide range of organisations for a variety of purposes, but all with the same goal of a clearer understanding of cetacean abundance and distribution in their area of interest. Independently, much of this data is limited in capacity to perform analyses at relevant spatial and temporal scales, but together, have the potential to significantly increase our understanding of these cryptic creatures. Find out more about the evolution of the JCDP.

The Joint Cetacean Data Programme (JCDP) aims to better facilitate this process of accessing and utilising cetacean survey data by collating the growing evidence-base across the north-east Atlantic into a single accessible resource.


The JCDP Aims

The JCDP aims to achieve this vision through:

  • Development of an international platform to host cetacean survey datasets from the north-east Atlantic.
  • Development of a data standard to guide data collection and storage to enable a high-quality collation of data.
  • Provision of regularly updated open access data products for use in strengthening cetacean science and subsequent decision-making.
  • Facilitating access to the collated dataset for use in bespoke analyses.

Historically, there has been no mechanism to facilitate access to all existing effort-related cetacean monitoring datasets in the north-east Atlantic, and the process of doing so is labour intensive and inefficient. However, there are multiple examples of analyses using these data in this way the outputs have proven to be highly effective.

The JCDP aims to streamline the process of accessing and utilising these data by collating the existing cetacean evidence base into a single resource. These data have a wide range of applications and have the potential to support analyses at a range of spatial and temporal scales.


The JCDP Platform

The JCDP platform comprises this JNCC Hub (these web pages) and the JCDP Data Portal (hosted on the ICES Data Centre).


The JCDP Hub

The JCDP Hub is hosted on the JNCC website, consisting of a series of web pages that provide information about the JCDP, and guidance to support data contributors and users.

A number of resources are available to support the collection and provision of cetacean survey data to the JCDP. These resources and documents include the JCDP Data Standard, guidance on metadata and resources to help inform cetacean survey protocols.


The JCDP Data Portal

The JCDP Data Portal is a website which enables data providers to upload cetacean survey data into the JCDP Data Portal, and data users to explore data products and download datasets.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has been contracted by JNCC on behalf of Defra, to build the Portal including the database and associated infrastructure to explore and access the data, which is hosted in the ICES Data Centre.

The JCDP Data Portal is planned to launch in spring 2022.

Access the JCDP Data Portal


Governance of JCDP

Common Dolphin © Sonia Mendes

The JCDP is working with a range of institutions and organisations that collect quality cetacean survey data from a vessel or aerial platforms across the north-east Atlantic region.

The success of the JCDP depends on not only continued submission of relevant, high-quality, standardised data; but also widespread application of the data and products to inform cetacean research and conservation.

From 2022, the JCDP is governed by an ICES working group – Working Group on the Joint Cetacean Data Programme WGJCDP) – which oversees and manages the JCDP data portal, information and resources. 


How to contribute data

The JCDP collates effort-related cetacean survey data collected from a vessel or aerial platforms. Organisations or individuals collecting these data which follow the agreed Data Standard are encouraged to contribute via the Data Portal.

The JCDP provides guidance to data providers via this website to assist in the preparation of survey data for inclusion in the JCDP database. You can find these resource on the JCDP Resources page.


How to access JCDP data

The JCDP Data Portal provides the dashboard and tools necessary to search, filter and download third party data held within the JCDP. There will be two levels of access with some data openly available to download, and some restricted data that will require a request to the data owner/provider. The Portal also hosts a number of data products based on the dataset which are open access.

To access JCDP data please visit the JCDP Data Portal and follow the links from there.

For more information, please contact us.


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