International aerial study of Cetaceans was carried out in the North-western part of the Black Sea

An international aerial study of Cetaceans in the Black Sea was carried out in the period July 1-12 2013. A Romanian expert from Mare Nostrum - Mr. Marian PAIU - was among the participants.

The study was carried out within the “Studies for implementing a Common Fisheries Policies: Negative impact on the populations of Cetaceans in the Black Sea”, implemented by the English consultancy company MacAlister Elliott & Partners Ltd and funded by DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the EC. The scientific team of the project comprises experts from Bulgaria (IFR Varna and IO - BAS, Varna), Romania (National Institute for Marine Research & Development "Grigore Antipa", Constanta), Turkey (TUDAV and University of Istanbul), Ukraine (Brema Laboratory and Black Sea Council for Marine Mammals, Simferopol and Institute on Fisheries and Oceanology, Kerc) and UK (Saint Andrews University, Scotland).

The main aim of the study was to obtain data on the overall numbers of Black Sea Cetaceans as there is no data on population density, distribution and numbers on the three species. Gathering information on these indicators is among the priority actions stated in the Plan for Conservation of the Black Sea Cetaceans, developed by an expert group under the aegis of ACCOBAMS and the Black Sea Commission in 2006 and adopted by the Third Conference of the Parties of ACCOBAMS in 2007.

A well-tested methodology using a small airplane (Partenavia P-68), equipped with special projected windows, allowing for observations directly under the airplane was applied. Dr. Simone Panigada, Vice-president of the Tethys Institute, Italy, was the leader of the team. The team of four observes comprised Giancarlo Lauriano – ISPRA, Italy; Marian Paiu – Mare Nostrum NGO, Romania; Dimitar Popov- Green Balkans, Bulgaria and Arda Tonay – TUDAV/Istanbul University, Turkey. Michele Albertario from MACH 014, Italy, piloted the airplane. A number of observations were obtained during the flights, which will now be processed through up-to-date statistical methods in order to calculate numbers, distribution and density of the studied populations.

More on the Cetacean species in the Black Sea…

Cetaceans of the Black Sea are identified as separate sub-species, due to the closed character of the sea. All three species are included in the International Red Data List of IUCN:

Black Sea Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena relicta) – endangered (EN)

Black Sea bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus ponticus) – endangered (EN)

Black Sea Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis ponticus) – vulnerable (VU)

Information on their numbers and distribution in the Black Sea is crucial for identifying the extent of human impact and the planning and implementation of adequate conservation programmes.

More on the work of Mare Nostrum…

Mare Nostrum is a leading organization in research and conservation of Black Sea Cetaceans. The activities started in 1994, and cetacean project in 2001. A voluntary network for gathering data on stranded Cetaceans, operating since 2001 has been set up by the organization. In 2006 Mare Nostrum introduced photo-identification as a method for dolphin research for the first time in Romania. Mare Nostrum, as part of the Action plan for the conservation of the cetacean from the Romanian Black Sea areasubmitted a proposal for including the methods (photo-identification and Cetacean stranding, sightings and bycatches) as a part of the officially approved methods of the National System for Biomonitoring. The results, achieved by Mare Nostrum, gained international recognition with the acceptance of the organization as an official partner of ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area) in 2013. ACCOBAMS is an inter-governmental agreement for conserving the marine biodiversity of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The agreement is a part of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention).

For more details, please contact:

Marian Paiu - coordinator of the Cetaceans conservation programme of Mare Nostrum

Phone: +40 241 612 422

Mobile phone: + 40763 255 731,

е-mail: marian_paiu@marenostrum.ro