Common Dolphins in the Ionian Sea

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WCA Partner Jonian Dolphin Conservation is a scientific organisation conducting research on cetaceans in the Gulf of Taranto in the northern area of the Ionian Sea. While the organisation sees many different species of whales and dolphins during its trips the last sighting of common dolphins was recorded in the first few months of 2016 and then that was of just one individual. For common dolphins in this area it is generally the same, one individual that hangs around with a group of striped dolphins. Since 2016 there have been no sightings of common dolphins, until May 2018 when two individuals were seen along in the area. The same two dolphins were then seen on another two occasions during June, but this time in the company of a pod of striped dolphins. The common dolphins though were always seen swimming close to each other.

The team at Jonian Dolphin Conservation do not know what has caused the lack of common dolphin sightings over the last few years but it is clear that this species has suffered much due to human impacts in the last few decades.

Once one of the most abundant cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea, common dolphins have declined throughout the region since the 1960s, with the causes of this decline including prey depletion by overfishing and bycatch in fishing gear. In 2003 the Mediterranean Sea common dolphin population was listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species1.

Jonian Dolphin Conservation will continue to monitor and record common dolphin sightings within their small area of the Mediterranean Sea, contributing to increasing the knowledge of this vulnerable population.

Find out more about Jonian Dolphin Conservation at their website www.joniandolphin.it

  1. Bearzi, G. 2012. Delphinus delphis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T6336A16236707. Downloaded on 15 June 2018.

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