The Rugvin Foundation

The Rugvin (Dorsal fin) foundation was established in 2007, after a two year project period under the umbrella of the North Sea Foundation (SDN).

The foundation has the following aims:

1) To conduct research on diversity, population dynamics, behaviour of all whale species in the North Sea and to publish all found data to the Dutch audience on behalve of information and education.

2) To conduct all further needed actions connected with the above stated goal in the most broad sense.

3) The foundation tries to reach its goals by the conduction of systematic surveys at sea.

To achieve the above mentioned goals and aims Rugvin conducts the following activities:


Monitoring on Stena Line platform:

The surveys on the Stena Line ferries continued as described in the annual reports (Zanderink & Osinga, 2005 -2010). Observers spot cetaceans from the bridges of the ferries on a monthly basis. The total observing time is approximately six hours per survey day and each survey consists of two survey days. The first day of observation is on the Stena Hollandica, when the observers travel from Hook of Holland to Harwich. On the following day the observers travel back to Hook of Holland on the Stena Britannica.


Research on the Oosterscheldt estuary.

1. Annual count of porpoises presetn on the inisde  of the Oosterscheldt estuary.

2. Acoustic research to determine how frequent harbour porpoises migrate through the Storm surge barrier.

3. Identification of individual porpoises present in the esturay.



  1. Website
  2. Annual report
  3. press releases
  4. Brochures
  5. Lectures
  6. Presentation at ECS conference



Sponsors & Partners

The work of the Rugvin foundation would not be possibe without the support and collaboration of organisations and companies mentioned below:

Stena Hollandica on its way to Harwich.


Stena Line
Since 2005, Stena Line, offers the Rugvin foundation the possibility to make use of the observation bridge of the ferries Hollandica and Britannica. Each month the crew welcomes our volunteers enthusiastically and offer us food and drinks. Also the crew itself who are well informed and aware about cetaceans, spot porpoises on a regular basis and register these sightings. The Rugvin foundation is grateful and thankful to the management and crew for their support and participation!


World Wide Fund for Nature
Thanks to financial support and good collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature, the dorsal fin foundation could organize the first official porpoise scan at the Oosterschelde. Besides the Rugvin volunteers, also fourteen “Lifeguards” participated this scan. The WWF enabled the possibility to use several boats for the scan, and they contributed to the purchase of the hydrophone, which could be used during the scan. Also the later scans (2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014) were financially supported by the WWF. In addition, the WWF made it possible to purchase the C-pods, which were used for acoustic research in the Oosterschelde.

Peter and Frank Peter bring in a C-pod


The department of public works
Between December 2009 and 2013 several C-pods were placed on both sides of the storm surge barrier of the Eastern Scheldt. The memory cards, containing valuable data, and batteries of these C-pods had to be changed regularly. Thanks to the cooperation of the department of public works, who made available crew and materials, the C-pods could be reached and placed back. The acoustic research to the migration of porpoises through the storm surge barrier of the Eastern Scheldt has been ended. The final report can be read here.


Cooperating organizations

ECMC (previously ARC)
After the start of the Rugvin foundation in 2005, Rugvin joined the Atlantic Research Coalition. The research organizations (nine in total) from Spain, Ireland, Great-Britain and the Netherlands who are part of this coalition, use ferries on the European seas as research platform. By using the same research systematics and research methods, their work is convenient. In addition, they publish their findings in joint research reports via the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), and there is a yearly meeting during the European Cetacean Society Conference (ECS).

In 2014, ARC promoted into a better coalition, (European Cetacean Monitoring Coalition) which aims to use their data as shared data.

Besides the Rugvin Foundation, the ECMC consists of the following eight organizations:
– Organisation Cetacea (ORCA)
– University of Aberdeen
– Norcet
– Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG)
– Marinelife (Biscay Dolphin Research Programme)
– Seatrust
– Plymouth to Santander Marine Survey

Other Organisations
Moreover the Rugvin foundation has good bonds with the North Sea foundation and SOS Dolphin, with whom Rugvin published a brochure with financial support of the WWF. A few volunteers of Rugvin are working for these organisations. The National Park Eastern Scheldt supports Rugvin with notifying the Dutch public about the presence of the porpoise in the Oosterschelde.


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