The seas around western Europe are changing rapidly and it is essential that European governments have access to robust up-to-date information on the status of key species, including cetaceans, so that future monitoring can be directed effectively and efficiently and appropriate management actions taken to achieve and maintain favourable conservation status of species and good environmental status of European Atlantic waters.

The primary objective of SCANS-III is to estimate the abundance of all cetacean species in shelf and oceanic waters of the European Atlantic in summer 2016. Summer distribution will also be mapped and an investigation of habitat features that influence distribution will be undertaken. Depending on the data obtained, results are expected for: harbour porpoise; common, striped, white-beaked, white-sided and bottlenose dolphins; minke, fin, pilot, sperm and beaked whales.