Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit

The Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU) is a marine conservation charity in northeast Scotland. They safeguard UK cetaceans including whales and dolphins through research, education, and a 24-hour rescue service. Collaborating with universities, they study coastal cetaceans, informing conservation efforts and inspiring budding scientists worldwide. Plus, they provide marine mammal rescue training and operate Scotland’s only specialised team for stranded marine mammals with the help of their team of 600 volunteer first-responders.

June 2024

Harry's Hat Logo

CRRU is a marine conservation charity based in northeast Scotland, dedicated to the conservation and protection of UK whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) through scientific investigation, environmental education outreach and the provision of a 24-hour rescue service for sick, injured and stranded individuals.

In collaboration with universities and environmental organizations, CRRU conducts research on coastal cetacean species in the outer Moray Firth, such as the bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and the minke whale. This research aims to expand knowledge of these animals in UK coastal waters and inform conservation strategies.

CRRU offers year-round training in marine mammal rescue, and has trained over 4000 individuals. What started out initially as a pilot has grown into a central European training station for upcoming marine mammal scientists. They have supported 28 master’s students and 5 PhD students, and many of their graduates have gone on to work around the world and contribute to some amazing marine science and conservation efforts after being inspired by the course.

In addition, they are now also offering places to disadvantaged young people to help with mental well-being.

CRRU runs Scotland’s only specialised response team for stranded whales and dolphins. The team also respond to other marine casualties, including seals, seabirds, and turtles. Locally, 60 people are regularly involved in rescues, and 600 regular rescue volunteers across Scotland act as first responders, significantly improving survival rates by attending to emergencies whilst awaiting CRRU’s arrival.

A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency. Speed of response and access to a casualty are the two most important factors for a successful outcome. Funds from the John Good Group would go towards an additional smaller, more flexible rescue-boat for the charity. This equipment will enhance the organisation’s ability to respond to stranding events and improve overall effectiveness in marine mammal rescue.

We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for an award from the John Good Group for this life saving area of our work.

This support will help us to help more whales and dolphins in trouble around our UK coastlines and we cannot thank the Grants for Good scheme enough for this invaluable backing and promotion of our estimable conservation aims for the protection of these ecologically-important UK marine mammals.

Dr. Kevin Robinson

Lead Researcher and Director, CRRU

“I had an amazing meeting with Kevin from CRRU, which was really inspiring. With an academic background in marine biology, Kevin initially focused on lab research during his PhD, studying fish larvae development, before travelling to Greece to work with endangered monk seals on RHIBs.

Motivated to create opportunities for young people that he didn’t have, Kevin founded the CRRU as a pilot in the 1990s. Despite the sheer breadth of work they do at the CRRU, they have no salaried staff and are volunteer-driven.

Kevin’s dedication to young people and education is shaping marine conservation efforts today. With nearly 30 years of experience with bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth, his expertise is invaluable.”

Michelle Taft

Executive Director, Matthew Good Foundation

Latest Project Updates

July 2024

Granted £2000

After employees at the John Good Group voted for their favourite causes, CRRU received a grant of £2,000.

June 2024

Grants for Good Finalist

CRRU has become one of the top five finalists in the latest Grants for Good round, and will receive a grant between £2000 and £5000 after employees at the John Good Group have voted on their favourite causes.