A number of Common Seals (Phoca vitulina), also known as Harbour seals, live in the Solent and often visit Chichester Harbour. This is the only known rookery in the Eastern English Channel and so they are considered regionally unique and are, therefore, very important. Atlantic Grey seals have also been spotted on occasions.
The Solent Seal project was a partnership project, led by the Wildlife Trusts South East Marine Programme in partnership with Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Sea Mammal Research Unit, and Natural England. The aim was to learn more about the Solent seal population with a view to improving its conservation. The project utilised various techniques to survey and monitor the seal populations, including visual counts at haul-outs, a public sightings scheme, photo-identification and telemetry. Key findings include:
The Hants and Wight Wildlife Trust have joined forces with the South Coast Seal Project and Dorset Marine Mammal Research Programme to gather information on sightings of marine mammals.