Cetacean Alliance is a not-for-profit network of non-governmental organisations committed to preserving marine biodiversity and reducing human impact on cetacean populations. Its aim is to develop synergies and create opportunities for collaboration among individuals and organisations sharing a determination to protect these magnificent and vulnerable animals.

The network includes NGOs with bases in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

NGOs in the network have a collective membership of over 100,000.

    Steering Group

Sigrid Lüber (Chair) joined OceanCare in January 1990 and was elected as OceanCare President in 1993. She has been an Observer at the annual meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1992, also working towards the protection of small cetaceans with the IWC, promoting discussion and agenda items on environmental threats to cetaceans, and introducing political as well as scientific initiatives on the issue of cetacean meat contamination and its effects on human consumers. Sigrid's work focuses on the regulation and reduction of ocean noise pollution. She is also concerned with the growing problem of economic development aid bound on conditions such as voting behaviour. She lobbies for the increase of transparency, good governance of oceans and the involvement of NGOs in international policy making, in order to make Governments more conscious of demands by the civil society.


Giovanni Bearzi (Coordinator) holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Basel, Switzerland, with a thesis on Mediterranean coastal dolphins. He has been carrying out and coordinating dolphin research projects since 1986, particularly in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. He founded and directed for a decade a dolphin research and conservation programme in Croatia, which was awarded the 'Henry Ford European Conservation Award' as best European project overall. Board Member (1990—2010) and President (2000—2010) of the Tethys Research Institute, a nonprofit organisation specialising in cetacean research and conservation. Contract Professor of Cetacean Conservation (2002—2006) at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Venice, Italy. Senior scientist at Texas A&M University. In 2001 he was awarded a Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship.

  Nicolas Entrup (Member) started to become engaged in cetacean conservation in 1992, by then focusing on monitoring the trade with Black Sea dolphins for the aquarium industry and highlighting its impact on wild populations. In 1999 he joined the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and became Managing Director of the German office which was established at the same time. Advocating for better protection of whales and dolphins, he concentrates his work on political fora. He regularly attends the annual Meetings of the International Whaling Commission and Conferences of the Parties of CITES, CMS and ACCOBAMS. Nicolas is father of two kids.

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara (Advisory Member) holds a Ph.D. in marine biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with a thesis on the systematics and ecology of manta rays in the Gulf of California, where he discovered and described a new species. In 1986 he spearheaded the creation of the Italian national cetacean stranding network (Centro Studi Cetacei), which he coordinated until 1990. In 1986 he founded the Tethys Research Institute, which he directed for 10 years. In 1991 he proposed the creation of the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, which was established in 1999 by Italy, France and Monaco. He is now honorary president of Tethys. In 1996 Giuseppe was nominated president of the Central Institute for Applied Marine Research (ICRAM) in Rome, where he served for seven years. From 1999 to 2003 he served as Commissioner or Alternate Commissioner for Italy at the International Whaling Commission. He chaired the European Cetacean Society from 1993 to 1997. His current activities include: regional coordinator for the Mediterranean and Black Seas, WCPA Marine (since 2000); deputy chair, SSC Cetacean Specialist Group (since 1991); member, SSC Shark Specialist Group (since 1993); chair, Scientific Committee of the CMS Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS; since 2002). Since 2006 he teaches a course on the conservation of marine biodiversity at the University of Milan.


Ricardo Sagarminaga (Membership Representative) is the President of Alnitak and Coordinator of the Spanish Cetacean Society (SEC). He is also the skipper of Alnitak's research vessel 'Toftevaag'. He participated in research on leatherback turtles in the Virgin Islands (US) in 1983 and was member of the expert group on sea turtles for the European Commission in 1987. In 2002-2006 he was co-director of the LIFE-Nature project 'Conservation of cetaceans and sea turtles in Murcia and Andalucía', coordinator of the action 'Reduction of the impact of accidental capture of sea turtles in long-line', coordinator of satellite tagging of sea turtles for a study of their migrations and habitat use (SEC – WIDECAST  Duke University Marine Lab) and director of a study on mitigation measures of sea turtles bycatch in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries. He established a collaboration line between LIFE02NAT/E/8610 and NECESSITY projects, with a series of experiments carried out in 2005-2006 onboard the research vessel 'Toftevaag'.  At present he is director of a project of the Spanish Ministry of Fisheries for the 'Development of Technologies for reducing the impact of sea turtle and cetacean bycatch in fisheries', coordinator of the 'OSPAR Stakeholder implication task workgroup' for the Spanish Environment Ministry and coordinator of the 'Cetaceans, sea turtles and sea birds working group' of the IUCN 'Alboran Initiative'.

    Funding Organizations

OceanCare is a leading Swiss marine mammal protection agency founded in 1989. It works at national and international levels in the areas of whaling, industrial fishing, dolphin captivity, seal hunting and environmental changes. In the area of whaling, OceanCare has been, since 1992, the only Swiss non-governmental organisation to attend the annual meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), campaigning for a whale-friendly attitude on the part of national governments. The voice of OceanCare is now being heard to an even greater extent and has been underpinned by various reports and expert studies on, inter alia, vote buying, IWC policy on small cetacean, and whale meat as a health hazard. OceanCare is also involved in cetacean research projects in the Mediterranean. OceanCare has commissioned a legal opinion on the use of military sonar systems, and brought to the attention of NATO member states that the use of LFAS and other military sonar systems is violating international public law as well as various conventions. OceanCare demanded compliance with the UN Law of the Sea and other agreements and requested an independent global environmental assessment on the impact of military sonars on marine life. It also advocated their immediate ban until such assessment has been completed - a proposal supported by 85,000 individuals who signed the petition of the European Coalition for Silent Oceans, founded by OceanCare in October 2002. In co-operation with the Earth Island Institute, OceanCare launched a unified, trademarked dolphin-safe label for tuna products. OceanCare also gives regular presentations on whales and dolphins at schools and to the Swiss public.

Based in Switzerland



WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, is the world's most active charity dedicated to the conservation and welfare of cetaceans. Established in 1987, WDCS is staffed by over 70 people, along with many volunteers, located in its office in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Germany, the UK and the US. This team of people is dedicated and determined to do their best for the animals and proud of the fact that WDCS's operating costs are kept to a minimum. The money raised is spent on urgent conservation, research and education projects that really do make a difference to the daily lives and long-term security of thousands of whales, dolphins and porpoises around the world. WDCS objectives are: 1) to reduce, and ultimately, eliminate the continuing threats to cetaceans and their habitats 2) to raise awareness of cetaceans and educate people about the need to address the continuing threats to their welfare and survival. WDCS works to: 1) prevent suffering in individual whales, dolphins and porpoises, whether in their natural environment or in captivity; 2) stop the deliberate killing of whales and dolphins for commercial and so-called 'scientific' purposes; 3) top the unnecessary deaths of cetaceans from man-made threats such as pollution or entanglement in fishing nets; 4) prevent the extinction of endangered species and promote the recovery of all cetacean populations; 5) secure adequate protection for - and maintain the health of - all cetacean habitats; 6) promote a worldwide interest in cetaceans.

Based in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Germany, the UK and the US

    Member Organizations

Member since 2007


Founded in 1986, the Tethys Research Institute is a private non-profit organisation specialised in cetacean research. Tethys has generated one of the largest datasets on Mediterranean cetaceans and over 300 scientific contributions.Tethys aims to protect the Mediterranean biodiversity by promoting the adoption of a precautionary approach for the management of natural resources. Public awareness and conservation activities, coupled with education and capacity building, find their strength in a robust scientific background. The activities conducted by Tethys seek to prevent the decline of marine species and to encourage a sustainable use of the marine environment. Tethys first conceived and proposed the creation of the Pelagos Sanctuary (in 1991) and of the Losinj Dolphin Reserve in Croatia (in 1993). Tethys has conducted long-term studies on cetaceans in the Corso-Ligurian-Provencal basin, in the Adriatic Sea, and in the Ionian Sea. Tethys has also done research on cetaceans in the Messina Strait and in several other Mediterranean and Atlantic areas. Research methods used by Tethys include the use of remote sensing and telemetry data, the combined use of laser range-finding binoculars and GPS to passively track and record the horisontal movements of whales, population studies, bioacoustic research, photo-identification and behavioural sampling, remote biopsy sampling for genetic and toxicological analyses, and historical research. Tethys owns enormous photographic archives of cetacean images, that have resulted in the identification of over 1,500 individuals of eight Mediterranean species. With a core of about 30 collaborators the Tethys Research Institute has involved in its campaigns thousands of people from all over the world, and has developed a network that is constantly growing.

Based in Italy


Member since 2008


The Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute (PCRI) is a scientific non-profit organization, aiming at the study and conservation of cetaceans in Greece and the Mediterranean Sea. Since 1993 the PCRI is conducting scientific work that reached internationally acclaimed media (e.g. Nature, Times, The Economist, BBC, CNN, National Geographic). Starting when almost nothing was known about cetaceans in Greece, the PCRI: a) revealed an unexpected diversity in cetacean species and mapped their distribution in the Greek Seas; b) linked the use of military sonar with atypical mass strandings and provided the first scientific evidence for the development of an international conservation movement against the sound pollution in the oceans; c) discovered the most important resident population unit of sperm whales at the Mediterranean level; d) discovered a unique phenomenon of permanent mixed-species dolphin societies in the Gulf of Corinth; e) recorded for the first time worldwide the echolocation sounds of Cuvier’s beaked whales; f) made the first link of sperm whale communication sounds (codas types) with their behaviour. Since 1998 the PCRI runs one of the longest research programmes on sperm whales, worldwide, which significantly contributed to the IUCN listing of this species’ Mediterranean population as “Endangered”. In addition to producing knowledge through research, the PCRI: a) disseminates this knowledge among concerned individuals, organizations and authorities; b) promotes environmental public awareness and education; and c) contributes to the conservation of cetaceans and their natural environment. The PCRI scientific co-ordinator has served ACCOBAMS as member of its first scientific committee, before and after this international agreement came into force.

Based in Greece


Member since 2008


The Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation (Plavi Svijet) is a non-governmental organisation from Veli Losinj, Croatia, set up with the intention to carry out scientific research and conservation projects and promote environmental awareness in the Losinj-Cres archipelago, Croatia and Adriatic region as a whole. Initially, Blue World was formed with the intention to take over the research and public awareness actions of the Adriatic Dolphin Project (ADP) started in 1987 and managed by the Tethys Research Institute until 2000. Blue World was created in 1999 by ten founders, mostly local but all involved in the ADP during previous years. Presently, Blue World carries out projects including Adriatic Dolphin Project, Losinj Dolphin Reserve, Losinj Marine Education Centre, Research and conservation of marine turtles of the Adriatic in cooperation with the Croatian Natural History Museum. Blue World actively cooperates with a number of organisations and institutions in Croatia and abroad.

Based in Croatia


Member since 2008


Alnitak Marine Research Centre is a non governmental non-profit association, founded in 1990 with the main aim of developing studies in cooperation with universities, environmental organisations and other institutions to increment our knowledge on the marine and coastal environment and thereby contribute to the biodiversity conservation strategies. Alnitak focuses most of its research efforts into providing baseline scientific data for the adoption of management measures that should make fisheries sustainability, economic development and biodiversity conservation compatible. For this reason, Alnitak participated projects such as LIFE02NAT/E/8610, SCANS II and NECESSITY. The team of Alnitak has wide experience in research fields such as: the bioacoustics applied to Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) and Acoustic Harassement Devices (AHDs) and especially in the development of playback experiments and the cetacean’s reactions to them;  the study of populations of sea turtles and in particular the monitoring of the bycatch in longline, data collection onboard fishing vessels, and experimental techniques on  mitigation measures; and the study of cetacean populations, in particular their abundance and habitat preferences through spatial modelling, and their conservation problems. In addition, there is a strong tradition of cooperation and synergy between the Alnitak team and the main European and international entities and programmes devoted to these issues (e.g. NOAA Fisheries, WIDECAST, SMRU, IWC, DIFRES, ACCOBAMS, EC, IEO Spain), the main stakeholders (e.g. the longlining fleet) and the competent authorities in Spain (Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Fisheries). Alnitak owns the research vessel Toftevaag, with which it has been carrying out research on cetacean and sea turtles for more than 15 years.

Based in Spain


Member since 2008


Morigenos - marine mammal research and conservation society is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental organization, dedicated to the research and protection of cetaceans and to the conservation of the marine environment (morigenos means 'sea-born'). The organization was founded in 2001. Morigenos is carrying out several projects in the field of scientific research, education, public awareness and conservation. Its main project is the study and conservation of common bottlenose dolphins living in Slovenian and adjacent waters of the northern Adriatic Sea. Morigenos has been studying and following these dolphins since 2002 and was the first to document a resident local population of bottlenose dolphins in the area. Little was known about dolphins off Slovenia prior to that. Morigenos is recognized as 'an organization working in public interest of nature conservation' by the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment.

Based in Slovenia


Delphis mdc
Member since 2008

Member since 2008


Oceanomare-Delphis is a non-profit organisation established to study and preserve cetaceans and their ecosystems through knowledge, conservation and awareness actions. It originates from the fusion of Oceanomare and Delphis mdc in 2010. Oceanomare-Delphis advances the science and practice of conserving cetaceans and marine biodiversity, implementing non-invasive studies, promoting education and conservation programmes and enhancing public awareness of, and concern for, cetaceans and the marine environment. Oceanomare-Delphis advocates for financial support of scientific and conservation programmes and facilitates dissemination of results through professional networking, capacity building, public outreach and scientific publications. Oceanomare-Delphis believes the application of scientific knowledge to management and policy is essential for effective cetacean conservation.

Based in Italy

    Media partner

Member since 2007


earthOCEAN specializes in the creation and production of environmental, science, and natural history based educational media. earthOCEAN.tv is an online education resource for students, teachers and the general public. It produces documentary videos and interactive content for online distribution, while producing longer format documentary films. earthOCEAN develops partnerships with and highlights the efforts of, international and local NGOs, conservationists and scientists to raise awareness in the media, in local communities, and around the world about environmental issues, to ultimately change attitudes and assist in policy development. In 2008 earthOCEAN produced a series of documentary programs featuring the work of scientists and conservationists to protect cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea. The series examines the threats faced by individual species, and focuses on the people who are making a difference to preserve the animals.

Based in Australia

    Other partnerships

Alnitak, Blue World, Morigenos, OceanCare, Pelagos, Tethys and WDCS are "partners" to the UNEP/CMS Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS).

    Cetacean Alliance was founded in 2007 by Giovanni Bearzi, Nicolas Entrup and Sigrid Lüber.