La Rochelle, France (7 jours/7)

Welcome to PELAGIS

Marine mammals and seabirds Observatory
Coordinator of the French Stranding Network

Sea sentinel

UAR 3462

An observatory for marine megafauna conservation

For the last 50 years, we have been monitoring the status of populations of marine mammals, seabirds and other large marine species. We collect information through campaigns at sea on boats or planes to answer simple questions: How many are they ? Where are they ? When are these species present in French waters and beyond?
The monitoring of strandings, which began in 1972, provides a unique series of data and biological samples that provide information on the evolution of human pressures that are degrading the health of marine mammal populations.
Maintaining such a long-term observatory makes it possible to support public policies to achieve effective conservation of these protected marine species.


Support to policies

Thanks to our work of observation and evaluation of the health of the marine ecosystem, Pelagis offers scientific support to public policies for the conservation of marine mammals and birds.


The long-term data and the bank of biological tissue samples are an outstanding support for scientific research. Our developments of software and analysis tools are an asset for the scientific community.

Societal issues

The increase in dolphin strandings on beaches is a challenge for society as a whole.
Pelagis coordinates the National Stranding Network, which is in the front line in providing elements of response.


What are the threats to marine megafauna?

Since 2015 we have seen an increase in the number of strandings along the Atlantic coast. Thanks to the analysis of our databases, we identify several threats. Through analyses of our databases, we identify a number of pressures on the good status of populations.


Accidental capture by fishing gear is one of the main causes of marine mammal mortality.

Ship strikes

The intensification of maritime traffic is causing deadly collisions with large marine mammals.


Oil spills, micro-plastics, chronic chemicals, noise pollution, the degraded marine environment affects their survival.

Global change

Recrudescence of extreme oceanographic phenomena, ocean acidification, algal toxins.

The marine megafauna

Numerous species of marine mammals can be found in French waters, some of which still remain offshore. There are 2 main groups : Cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) and Pinnipeds (seals).



Last news

400 cétacés échoués sur nos côtes cet hiver (janvier-février 2022)

400 cétacés échoués sur nos côtes cet hiver (janvier-février 2022) Les correspondants du Réseau National Echouages (RNE) ont recensé près de 400 carcasses de petits cétacés sur la façade ouest[…]

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Autopsy session at the Pelagis observatory

Thierry JAUNIAUX (University of Liège), Sophie LABRUT (LABOCEA) and Benjamin GUICHARD (French Office for Biodiversity), joined the PELAGIS Observatory team on 22, 23 and 24 February in order to carry[…]

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Argos seal monitoring in St Pierre & Miquelon

From 11 to 15 September, a team of a dozen people from mainland France and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon set out to the waters of the archipelago to place Argos tags on five[…]

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First case of stranding of a tropical rorqual whale in metropolitan France

On September 30th, while a fin whale was reported stranded in the Baie de Somme, a second animal of nearly 10m was found alive in the Baie des Veys (Channel).[…]

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Where to find us ?

Observatoire PELAGIS
 UAR 3562


 5 Allée de l’Océan 17000 La Rochelle France
Visitor access via Avenue Henri Becquerel, behind the Technoforum

Tel: +33 05 46 44 99 10

E mail : pelagis(at)