[MARMAM] Fish farming and its appeal to common bottlenose dolphins

Silvia Bonizzoni silvia.bonizzoni at gmail.com
Thu Oct 3 02:32:22 PDT 2013

Dear colleagues,

the following article has just been published online:

Bonizzoni S., Furey N., Pirotta E., Valavanis V.D., Würsig B., Bearzi G.
Fish farming and its appeal to common bottlenose dolphins: modelling habitat
use in a Mediterranean embayment.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems DOI:


1. Common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus interact with fish farms in
the Mediterranean Sea. These interactions were investigated in a Greek bay
by incorporating multiple geographic, bathymetric, oceanographic, and
anthropogenic variables.

2. Generalized additive modelling (GAMs) and generalized estimation
equations (GEEs) were used to describe dolphin presence. Visual surveys were
conducted over 2909 km under favourable viewing conditions that included 54
dolphin group follows for 457 km. Sea surface temperature (SST) and
chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) data were obtained from remote sensing imagery, and
distances to sources of human influences including fish farms, a
ferro-nickel plant, and a slag disposal area were calculated within a
geographic information system (GIS).

3. Bottlenose dolphins were encountered mainly in the south-eastern portion
of the study area, and occurrence was not clearly related to SST and Chl-a,
nor the ferro-nickel plant or nearby slag disposal area.

4. Dolphin occurrence generally increased within 20 km of fish farms, with
four farms and dolphins displaying a positive relationship, seven no clear
relationship, and two a negative one.

5. While it is likely that uneaten food and other detritus attract dolphin
prey, individual farms (or clusters of farms) clearly had a different
appeal. The proximity of the ferro-nickel plant and slag disposal area to
'attractive' fish farms could compromise dolphin health, but physiological
data are unavailable.

6. The modelling of multiple variables allowed for a description of dolphin
habitat use and attraction to some fish farms. More such data and analysed
in similar manner would be instructive for other areas where marine mammals
and fish farms co-occur.


If you are unable to download the article from the journal's site, please
send a request to:
<silvia.bonizzoni at gmail.com>

- - - - - - -
Silvia Bonizzoni
Dolphin Biology & Conservation

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