Marine Mammals Sightings (MMS)

Report your observations of whales, walruses, seals, and polar bears in the Svalbard area. The reported sightings are actively used in research and monitoring.

A small gathering of walruses are laying on a peppled beach, partly in the ocean. Photo: Inger Lise Næss / Norwegian Polar Institute

If you are spending time in Svalbard, or planning to do so, we hope you'll consider sending your observations of marine mammals to us.

The Norwegian Polar Institute thanks the cruise tourist guides and others who have reported their observations over the previous years. We hope you will continue reporting, and look forward to our future collaboration!

How do I record my observations?

We encourage you to add your observations directly to the database.

Optionally, you may use a traditional form:

  1. Download the observation form (Excel, 76 kB)
  2. Fill out the form
    Instructions are included. If you do not have the location of your observation, check out our online map of Svalbard
  3. Send your filled-out form to
Map of Svalbard, with multiple observations of bowhead whale markedAll confirmed bowhead whale sightings in the Svalbard area and adjacent waters between 2000 and the present. The most recent year is illustrated by red circles, while previous years are represented by blue circles. Map: Norwegian Polar Institute

How is this data used?

The data enhances our general knowledge of habitat use, seasonal movements, etc., and is used in monitoring systems like MOSJ:


For questions about the database or reporting procedures, please contact us at .

For more info on species in Svalbard, see our fact pages on marine wildlife in the Arctic.