[MARMAM] New Publication: Bottlenose dolphins and Striped dolphins: Species distribution, behavioural patterns, encounter rates, residency patterns and hotspots in Montenegro, South Adriatic

aylin akkaya akkayaaylin at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 8 05:21:51 PST 2018

Dear MARMAM followers,
I am happy to announce that the First Annual Report of Montenegro Dolphin Project is ready to download under the title of " Bottlenose dolphins and Striped dolphins: Species distribution, behavioural patterns, encounter rates, residency patterns and hotspots in Montenegro, South Adriatic".
The full paper is available for download at: http://dmad.org.tr/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MDP-Annual-Report-Final.pdf
Thank you for having the time to read it!

SummaryThe Montenegro Dolphin Project ran the first dedicated annual survey effort within the coastal and offshore waters of Montenegro between 2016 and 2017, with plans to keep the survey effort going until 2020. The results presented here contribute to fill the gaps in knowledge and provide baseline information on the cetaceans of Montenegro. We urge management authorities to implement necessary in-field conservation measures for the protection of cetaceans that must lead to the protection of the whole marine ecosystem. During the current study, regular sightings of bottlenose dolphins and striped dolphins were recorded throughout the year. The encounter rate of bottlenose dolphins was estimated at 4 groups (9 individuals) per 100 km2 for the entire country. Additionally, photo identification study of bottlenose dolphins revealed multi-year sightings of individuals with varying degrees of residency patterns, ranging from transient to regular individuals. Several individuals were noted to travel from the southern to the northern edge of Montenegro, and vice versa, with a maximum re-sighting distance of 80 km. Sub-adult presence in the groups was also frequently recorded. Furthermore, Montenegro’s southern and northern waters, revealed high incidence of key behaviours: foraging, socialising and resting. While the coastal waters of Montenegro hold important habitats both for bottlenose and striped dolphins, offshore waters need to be monitored more frequently for the delineation of likely important cetacean habitat. It is important to note that the effect of tourism and marine traffic both on the dolphin sightings and behaviour was reported, yet no significant pressure effect was found here. Nevertheless, human pressure on the marine ecosystem should not be ignored. Currently there are over 100 gas and oil extraction platforms in the whole basin, with many more on the way, especially around the Southern Basin. Additionally, coastal tourism has become one of the most significant sources of income in the last decades. Moreover, pressure from unregulated fishery activities and maritime transportation, both on local and international scales, has increased over the same timescale. According to the Convention for Biological Diversity, Montenegro lies in the Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSA). Yet, Montenegro holds no Marine Protected Areas in its waters and proposed SPAMI sites (Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance) doesn't cover the territorial waters of Montenegro. The majority of Adriatic countries have legislative frameworks to regulate anthropogenic activities with potential impact on cetaceans, including Montenegro. The gap in baseline data, in addition to public ignorance towards nature conservation, forms one of the strongest obstacles to effective and sustainable conservation measures. The results of the current study aim to build a solid foundation for marine conservation in Montenegro via the of bridging research and public education, while emphasising the strong need for collaboration between research institutes both on the local and international scale.
Regards,Dr. Aylin Akkaya Bas
Scientific DirectorDeniz Memelileri Araştırma Derneği (DMAD)Marine Mammals Research Association+90 5337739867skype: aylin.akkaya3info at dmad.org.trwww.dmad.org.tr

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