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The Delphis operation, nowadays at its 23rd edition, is the biggest international mobilization of sailors and yachtsmen for the knowledge and protection of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a unique demonstration in matters of originality and scientific value, an important celebration of the sea, an appointment that all naturalist seamen cannot miss.

DELPHIS OPERATION aims to involve a number of boats and crews as big as possible to realize a panoramic snapshot of the Mediterranean and Black Sea surface, useful to the scientific community.

Since 1996, every year thousands sailors and yachtsmen dedicate a day on the sea for the knowledge and monitoring of cetaceans. On their boats placed over coordinates arranged in advance and spread equally, the people who take part into the Delphis operation become helpful to Science, because they all observe the sea surface at the same time, searching for cetaceans.

Each boat will be given a squared sea surface of 2 nautical mile length per side. Crews will have to observe and take pictures of cetaceans in their own areas.

Registration to Delphis is free of charge and crews will have to attend a specific training course which will enable them to recognise the different species of cetaceans living in the zone of observation.

Click here to download our “Admiring and identifying cetaceans in the Mediterranean sea” handbook


  • To create a celebration of the sea, every year on the same day and in all the countries on the coasts of Mediterranean and Black Sea.
  • To create a mass media event that arouses great interest on a largely shared theme like the protection of cetaceans. The event aims to involve all the countries on the coasts of Mediterranean and Black Sea.
  • To make the vast public of sea users and sea lovers aware of the importance of protecting
    cetaceans into their own natural environment; to inspire behaviours responsible for all forms of life
    in the sea; to spread out rules of behaviours to keep in presence of cetaceans (such as
    ACCOBAMS, the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea,
    and IWC International Whaling Commission, suggested by the scientific community).
  • Between 12.00 p.m. and 1.00 p.m. to place a big number of boats over coordinates arranged in
    advance and spread equally in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, thus realizing simultaneously
    observations and snapshots of the sea surface and of the cetaceans, by means of filling the form
    about sightings and observations.
  • Thanks to sailors and yachtsmen, to realize a snapshot of the sea surface in a way to obtain an objective evaluation of the minimum number of the living cetaceans.
  • To promote the transformation of the Mediterranean area process into a space of cooperation,
    prosperity, peace and democracy universally recognised.
  • enhance the presence of cetaceans off the coasts and to promote the still untouched qualities of
    the Mediterranean and Black Sea among European citizens.
  • To promote the sustainable and integrated development on the coasts of the Mediterranean and
    Black Sea and a correct environment management of the vast common heritage.
  • To promote the role of the Union for the Mediterranean in the safeguard of sea and coasts;
  • to promote the Union’s visibility and to enhance the numerous opportunities that will occur at the
    starting up process of the Union for the Mediterranean.
  • To strengthen the multilateral cooperation among FISPMED (International Federation for
    Sustainable Development and Fight to Poverty in the Mediterranean-Black Sea) members;
  • To develop new synergies among all the ONLUS, among public and private institutions, among
    associations for environment and those for sustainable development, among sailors, yachtsmen and
    fishermen of the whole Mediterranean and Black Sea;
  • To share and create a network on our knowledge on cetaceans.

Since 1996, thanks to Delphis operation it was possible:

To create a new generation of naturalist-seamen respectful of the navigation spirit, of its rules,
of the life-stile on board and of the environment.

To get sailors, yachtsmen and sea lovers associated in monitoring the sea and cetaceans, to let
these people become aware of their personal responsibility in protecting the sea.

To improve the knowledge on the distribution, the number and species of cetaceans living in the
Mediterranean, and especially in the International Sanctuary for sea mammals placed in the
eastern Mediterranean area.

To promote the still untouched qualities of the Mediterranean Sea among mass media and public
opinion, enhancing the number and the species of existing cetaceans, in order to better protect
them in their natural environment.

To promote the growth of international projects for conservation and safeguard of
the Mediterranean sea.

To create new forms of sustainable tourism and advantages for tourism economy.