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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 JCDP Aims

The JCDP vision will be achieved through the following aims: 

  • Development of an international platform to host cetacean survey datasets from the northeast 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 northeast 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 Data Platform

The JCDP platform comprises this JNCC Hub and the JCDP Data Portal.


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, updates on progress and access to resources to support data contributors and users. 

The JCDP will also provide a number of resources to support the collection and provision of cetacean survey data to the JCDP. These resources and documents will be made available through this website as and when finalised. 


The JCDP Data Portal

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 will be hosted in the ICES Datacentre.

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


Get involved with the 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. We’re keen to hear from anyone not already engaged with the JCDP and who would like to make their survey data available through the JCDP Data Portal. Please contact us


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.

A wide range of stakeholders has been involved in the project to date, acting as a steering group to ensure the JCDP is fit for purpose. However, we encourage anyone with an interest, either as a potential data provider or data user, to get in touch.


How to contribute data

The JCDP will collate effort-related cetacean survey data collected from a vessel or aerial platforms. Organisations or individuals collecting these data which follow the agreed Data Standard (in development) will be encouraged to contribute via the Data Portal (due to launch in spring 2022).

The JCDP will be providing guidance to all data providers via this website to assist in the preparation of survey data for inclusion in the JCDP database. Please follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our email updates to keep up to date with JCDP updates, news and resource developments. 


How to access JCDP data

The JCDP Data Portal will provide 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 and Hub will also host a number of data products based on the dataset which will be open access. 

The JCDP Data Portal will be launched in spring 2022

For more information, please contact us.


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