This study reviews and updates information on cetacean strandings in the state of Ceará, Brazil (02°30′S 41°15′W– 04°30′S 36°45′W), comprising 573 km of coastline. In the years 1992–2005, there were 252 cetacean stranding events, representing 19 species: three species of Balaenopteridae, three Physeteridae, two Kogiidae, two Ziphiidae and 11 Delphinidae. Three species comprised the majority (78.9%) of stranding events: estuarine dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (61.9%); sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus (10.3%); and rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis (6.7%). There was an increasing trend in the number of cases reported in the first five years with a highest frequency achieved in 1996. Stranding events occurred throughout the year, with the lowest frequency occurring in the autumn (March–May). Approximately 4% of the events were attributed to natural causes while 24.6% were human-related, mainly incidental captures. Meat removal for human consumption or bait was recorded in 6.7% of events. In the study area, Sotalia guianensis, P. macrocephalus and Steno bredanensis were the most abundant cetacean species, whereas Lagenodelphis hosei, Pseudorca crassidens, Orcinus orca, Kogia sima, Mesoplodon europaeus, Balaenoptera acutorostrata and Balaenoptera bonaerensis are probably rare in the area.