What is East Coast Dolphin Watch?

Our East Coast Dolphin Watch Citizen Science program provides a platform for the community to assist in understanding and monitoring of coastal dolphins whilst providing opportunities for education and environmental awareness.  Citizen scientists can contribute by reporting information on dolphin sightings. Dolphin sighting reports received from Dolphin Watchers contribute to understanding the long-term status, ecology and protection of local dolphin populations.

The Dolphin Watch initiative provides an opportunity for you to help monitor the populations of dolphins in your local area or in areas that you are visiting.

How to Get Involved

Anyone can be a Dolphin Watch citizen scientist!

It is easy to get involved.

  • Have you seen a dolphin? – Simply report your dolphin sighting and enter in all the details via our online sighting form. When you see dolphins, take note of how many you see, what species they are, their location and what they are doing. Take photographs when you can too.
  • You can also become a trained Dolphin Watcher by attending one of our  field training days where you’ll learn the basics in recording and interpreting dolphin behaviours. As a trained Dolphin Watcher in our protocols, you will also be able to conduct your own citizen science surveys from land-based platforms.
  • Attend one of the community presentations, events or visit us at our market stall. For updates on when and where these will take place, please sign up to our enewsletter or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
  • If you would like to get even more involved with our programs, you can also become a volunteer as a Dolphin Ambassador.

How your Observations Help

You can help to understand and monitor dolphins in your area by reporting your dolphin sightings. Every sighting helps!

We can learn a lot about the dolphins from sighting information and a photograph, all of which will help to understan

  • Species presence and distribution
  • Population trends and status
  • Movement and residency patterns
  • Habitat Use
  • Health & conservation needs of populations

Dolphin Watch Reports

Thanks to our dedicated Dolphin Watchers, we have been able to obtain baseline knowledge about dolphins in some regional areas! Check out what’s been seen by Dolphin Watchers along the east coast of Australia and beyond.


In 2023, we received a total of 1119 sightings were made to the Dolphin Watch Citizen Science initiative from 178 participants from around Australia. Sightings included reports of 7 different species; the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Australian humpback dolphin, common dolphin, Australian snubfin dolphin, false killer whale, Bryde’s whale and the killer whale or orca. These sightings combined added up to a total of 5126 individual cetaceans observed by Dolphin Watchers along the east coast of Australia and beyond.

Dolphin Watch Sightings from 2023


Throughout 2021, we had over 133 Dolphin Watch participants from around Australia who collectively reported 821 dolphin sighting reports!

Sightings included 12 different species including: The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, Australian humpback dolphins, Australian snubfin dolphins, Bryde’s whales, Burrunan dolphins, Gray’s beaked whales, humpback whales, Common dolphins, Pilot whales, Risso’s dolphins, and spotted dolphins.

Dolphin Watch Sightings from 2021


During 2020, a total of 711 sightings were made to the Dolphin Watch Citizen Science Initiative by 113 participants throughout Australia.

Of the data submitted, 11 were reported including; The Australian humpback dolphin, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Cuvier’s beaked whale, humpback whale, orca, Risso’s dolphin, spinner dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin, Bryde’s whale, snubfin and spotted dolphins.

Dolphin Watch Sightings from 2020

Dolphin Watch Sightings from 2019

Dolphin Watch Sightings from 2016-2018

Regional Dolphin Watch Chapter Reports

2019 Bribie Island Dolphin Watch Report

In 2019, the Bribie Island Dolphin Watch chapter collectively contributed many sighting reports of the resident Australian humpback and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins! Check out the full Bribie Island 2019 Dolphin Watch Report Bribie Dolphin Summary January 2019-December 2019

2018-2019 Town of 1770 Dolphin Watch Report

This report was made possible by the amazing efforts of Dolphin Watchers in the Town of 1770 that provided sightings over the 12months allowing the first information to be recorded on these populations.

Download full report  1770 Dolphin Summary April 2018-January 2019