Incidental sightings of marine mammals

Siri Hartvedt, Institute of Marine Research (IMR)

Dataset credit



Primary contact Siri Hartvedt Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
Secondary contact Institute of Marine Research Marine Mammals Research Group (IMR) N/A
Secondary contact Nils Øien Institute of Marine Research (IMR)


Hartvedt, S. 2020. Incidental sightings of marine mammals. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP ( on yyyy-mm-dd and originated from OBIS (


Data on incidental sightings of cetaceans reported to the Institute of Marine Research by letter or telephone, as well as information from newspapers, have been collected since 1967. From the late 1970s, data have also been obtained from research vessels, coast guard vessels, some fishing vessels and inspectors. These reports contain basic information on date, position and species, but also additional information such as group sizes. These sightings are not useful for assessing abundance, but might reveal distributional aspects. Most of the reports come from the northern areas (Barents Sea); this is clearly related to the distribution of the activities which form the basis for this kind of reporting.



Supplemental information

This dataset was downloaded from OBIS ( The records for only marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles and rays and sharks were extracted. Records with no longitude/latitude or no date (eventDate) were excluded.
OBIS dataset page:
Data Provider's dataset page:




This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
All attributes are included in the downloadable file (CSV or ESRI File Geodatabase) for "Complete Set of Dataset".

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidInternal ID
idRecord ID
dataset_idDataset ID
scientificnameScientific name
vernacularnameVernacular name
aphiaidAphia ID
taxonranktaxononic rank
individualcountGroup size / individual count
eventdateEvent date (precision varies)
eventtimeEvent time
decimallatitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
decimallongitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
coordinateprecisionCoordinate precision
catalognumberCatalog number
collectioncodeCollection code
occurrencestatusOccurrence status
basisofrecordBasis of record (HumanObservation / MachineObservation)
modifiedDate/time the record was modified
node_idNode ID
occurrenceidOccurrence ID
occurrenceremarksOccurrence remarks
eventidEvent ID
institutioncodeInstitution code
lifestageLife stage
sexGender of the animal if known
speciesSpecies by provider
datasetidDataset ID by provider
localityLocation of ocean
waterbodyDetails of ocean
droppedFlag indicating the record was dropped (always false)
absenceFlag indicating the record represents the absence of the species (always false)
marineFlag indicating the record is for marine life (always true)
Marine mammals31,081
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin1980-01-04
Date, End2015-12-09
Temporal prec.100000
Latitude23.78 - 84.05
Longitude-71.47 - 69.32
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. throughiOBIS
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Shared with None
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