16 Dec 2020
Combining Research with Education for Cetacean Conservation in Fethiye-Göcek SEPA Turkey
Towards Ecosystem Based Management of Marine Mammals in the North-Western Levantine Sea
Advancing Knowledge from Coastal to Pelagic for "Species Conservation Action Plan of Turkey": A Tool to Prioritise Measures against Population Decline
The current project is the continuous of five years of dedicated research and conservation effort on cetaceans within the territorial waters of Turkey. This phase of the study focuses on the development of action plan for cetaceans with species-level threat assessment, while carrying on its visual and acoustic surveys. Local capacity building was always one of the main goals of our project. Due to the current pandemic, organising workshops are challenging. Therefore, we have adopted an online course that has over 100 hours of practical and theoretical knowledge to enhance the local capacities even in difficult times. The project aimed to release the first “Cetacean Action Plan with threat assessment” and encourage the decisionmakers for its implementation while enhancing the local capacities and public awareness on the subject.
Current project develops on the scientific knowledge that was build through our dedicated survey effort within the last five years and aims to achieve an in-situ conservation and management strategies through the development of “Cetacean Action Plan with threat assessment and management strategies”. Currently, only 4% of Turkey’s territorial waters are protected by law. Despite the presence of protected areas, none of the protecting legislation covers the importance of cetaceans within its waters in more than a sentence, let alone emphasising the importance of collecting research itself.
The current phase of the project focuses on the management and conservation strategies that need to be implemented for effective species protection and developing local researcher capacities even further. To supplement the aforementioned, advanced survey and analysis techniques will be carried out to support the existing database and assess the identified threats (habitat destruction, marine traffic, fishing practices, sonar and seismic explosion) for each species for the conservation of the marine ecosystem of Turkish Mediterranean Sea. Critical habitat identification will be carried out for both coastal and deep diving species while the vocal behaviour of sperm whales will be assessed for the first time in Turkey. Last but not the least, remote lessons on critical research skills will be provided to the local students and researchers to enhance their research skills.