|Categories||Cetaceans, Habitats, Mammals, Marine|
|Date||8 Jan 2019|
Adriatic Sea is home to five cetacean species, classiﬁed at risk by IUCN; bottlenose, striped and Risso’s dolphins, Cuvier’s beaked whales and ﬁn whales. Our studies since 2016, underlined the presence of resident bottlenose and striped dolphins in Montenegro. Further, the deepest region of the entire Adriatic, holds the highest biodiversity that is under the pressure of seismic explorations currently. The origin of the project is to expand upon the data we have already acquired to the vulnerable deep waters to cover the data deficient species such as beaked whales and Risso's dolphins, and to explore possible common dolphin presence that were classiﬁed extinct.
The project focuses on the territorial waters of Montenegro. In comparison with the rest of the Adriatic, this offshore area reaches a maximum depth of 1200m, is characterised by its steep slopes, increased salinity and rich biodiversity. The continental shelf of Montenegro covers around 44% of the total offshore area, while the bathymetric belt covers around 34%.
Montenegro is a partner country of ACCOBAMS, Barcelona and Bern Convention however data on cetacean populations or the state of their habitat is still scarce.
‘Montenegro Dolphin Research’ was the first and continues to be the only annual cetacean monitoring project in Montenegro. By combining dedicated research effort with stakeholder engagement, not only will our understanding of cetacean population considerably enhanced, but also our ability to turn this knowledge into a subsequent management plan.
Here below are the significant conservation outputs to be expected:
• Regional population status updates of species and understanding of annual and seasonal encounter rates and residency patterns
• Delineating annual and seasonal critical habitats
• Developing and sharing a photo ID catalogue
• Evaluating the main threats on the species and Adriatic Pitch
• Increasing the awareness of the cetacean species among locals
• Capacity building through working closely with Montenegrin students
• Including the fishing community and oil-gas exploration companies as stakeholders in the project to stimulate involvement and engagement with marine conservation issues.
• Launching an online cetacean sighting and stranding network to support the active involvement of local communities and to encourage their enthusiasm and curiosity.
Read about Natasa's previous project https://www.rufford.org/projects/natasa_nikpaljevic or for more information contact: