[MARMAM] New paper on spinner dolphins' responses to human activities

Maddalena Fumagalli madda.fumagalli at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 07:59:10 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the following paper is now available online:

Maddalena Fumagalli, Amina Cesario, Marina Costa, John Harraway, Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Elisabeth Slooten (2018). Behavioural responses of spinner dolphins to human interactions. Royal Society Open Science 5: 172044.
Abstract - There is increasing evidence that whale and dolphin watching activities have detrimental effects on targeted cetacean populations. In Egypt, spinner dolphins regularly occur in the resting areas of Samadai, Satayah and Qubbat’Isa reefs. In-water human interactions with dolphins are regulated with a time-area closure system at Samadai, unregulated at Satayah and non-existent at Qubbat’Isa. This provided an ideal experimental setting to advance our understanding of the effects of tourism on a species highly sensitive to disturbances. Our study confirmed that the intensity and duration of interactions, and therefore, dolphin exposure to tourism, differed among the study sites. Compared with the Qubbat’Isa control site, behavioural reactions to boats and swimmers at the two tourism sites suggested that dolphin rest was disrupted, especially around the middle of the day and especially at Satayah, where dolphin tourism is unregulated. Our results indicate also that the dolphin protection measures at Samadai reduce the level of disturbance. We recommend that similar measures be implemented at other dolphin tourism locations, and that no new operations be initiated until the longterm impacts on dolphin populations are better understood. Our experience emphasizes the need to adopt precautionary approaches in research and management of whale and dolphin watching.

The paper can be found at http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/5/4/172044 <http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/5/4/172044> (open access)

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question regarding our work.

Maddalena Fumagalli
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