The North Sea is cleaner and warmer than at any time in the past 20 years, according to new research.
The skull of a Minke Whale was found off Northumberland
Scientists from Newcastle University say the discovery of a minke whale skull off Northumberland, backs up their findings.
The lengthy study took in findings of local fishermen and boat operators along the North East coast.
The results showed lower levels of pollution and increased sightings of porpoise, dolphins and whales.
The survey was carried out by Newcastle University's Dove Marine Laboratory.
The study team spent the past three months talking to fishermen, yachtsmen and boat operators in Blyth and North Shields, as part of a project called The North Sea: A Sustainable Future, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Team member Joanna Stockill said: "There is increasing recognition that we should listen more to people such as fishermen, who have decades of experience or come from families whose livelihoods have depended on the sea for generations.
"Their knowledge is especially important in developing our views on the health of the marine environment and in deciding management policies, concerned with how best to conserve dwindling stocks of commercially-important fish."