La Rochelle, France (7 jours/7)

By boat

Megascope boat tracking

This monitoring is carried out annually on certain vessels of the French Oceanographic Fleet in partnership with IFREMER. It consists of the implementation of a common protocol called Megascope applicable over different surveys and allowing to obtain distribution and relative abundance data for the marine megafauna.

The areas studied depend on the objectives and sampling of the IFREMER missions. Thus, every year, the Bay of Biscay, the English Channel and the Metropolitan Mediterranean are covered several times by observers reporting data from five fishing surveys.

This information is part of the DCSMM’s monitoring programme and provides information on descriptors relating to marine mammals and seabirds.



Surveys at sea


Tracked since 2003, it is the oldest ecosystem survey where observations are made. It takes place in spring (May) and covers the Bay of Biscay from the coast to the continental slope. Cetacean sightings are diversified, whereas for seabirds the abundance is generally lower.



This short winter survey (January) takes place mainly in the Eastern Channel and continues even afterwards in the North Sea. Monitoring focuses more on seabirds as few porpoises are observed. There are also observations in the Western Channel during the transit of the vessel.



Covering the whole of the Channel in autumn (mid-September to mid-October), it gives a picture of the distribution of birds which are very numerous in the East and less frequent in the Western part. On the other hand, it is in this sector open to the Atlantic that marine mammals are common.



It is at the end of autumn (October-November) that this survey covers the often turbulent waters of the Bay of Biscay and then the Celtic Sea. Between the various bottom trawls, the observers generally find large concentrations of seabirds and delphinids.



Carried out from a smaller ship, this survey takes place in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Gulf of Lion in summer (July). A single observer takes place there to collect data on the numerous shearwaters and gulls as well as bottlenose dolphins and even more species of cetaceans.



Megascope: observation on board fishing vessels

Documentary on the last campaign at sea on the MEGASCOPE boat, 5 December 2020