LATEST NEWS: The Code is currently being updated due to changes in legislation since it was first published. The new Code will be published here when finalised.

Scotland has a long and varied coastline with a wealth of marine wildlife. It is arguably the best place in Europe to watch whales, dolphins and porpoises. The basking shark – the second largest fish in the world – can often be seen feeding off the west coast in summer. Seals are found all around our coasts, are curious and easy to observe. Otters are more elusive, but are nonetheless relatively common, and if you watch carefully and are patient you may see them. Spectacular populations of seabirds nest on our sea cliffs and islands, and hundreds of thousands of waders and waterfowl frequent our beaches and estuaries. Sea eagles can be seen soaring and hunting on the west coast. Occasionally loggerhead and leatherback turtles are seen in our waters.

The Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code is designed for all those who watch marine wildlife around Scotland – whether they are on the shore or at sea. It is not a law or regulation – its over-riding purpose is to raise awareness and offer practical guidance.

The Code will:

  • Help you to enjoy watching marine wildlife.
  • Improve your chance of seeing wildlife.
  • Help minimise disturbance to marine wildlife.
  • Provide a standard for the wildlife watching industry.
  • Help you to stay within the law.
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