Density and abundance estimates of cetaceans in the Black Sea: The results of the ASI/CeNoBS aerial survey now published


Three species of cetaceans, all represented by local subspecies, inhabit the Black Sea: the Black Sea common dolphin Delphinus delphis ponticus, the Black Sea bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus ponticus, and the Black Sea harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena relicta. Their populations are threatened by multiple factors, including overfishing of their prey, bycatch, pollution and epizootics. In 2019, in cooperation and with support from the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS), within the framework of the ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative (ASI), a systematic study was carried out under the Support MSFD implementation in the Black Sea through establishing a regional monitoring system of cetaceans (D1) and noise monitoring (D11) for achieving GES – EU CeNoBS Project. Six strata in the waters of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Türkiye and Ukraine, covering most of territorial and offshore waters and 52% of the total Black Sea area, were surveyed between June 19 and July 4, 15 days at good weather conditions. A total of 7,324 kilometres of transects were surveyed recording a total of 1,744 cetacean sightings.


This first synoptic aerial survey for cetaceans in the Black Sea yielded comprehensive data and the first robust insights on global abundance, distribution and density for all three cetacean species, as well as strengthened the collaboration of cetacean scientists within and beyond the Black Sea.


 The full paper (open access) can be found at:

Paiu R-M, Cañadas A, Dede A, Meshkova G, Murariu D, Amaha Ozturk A, Popov D, Tonay AM, Timofte C, Kopaliani N, Gol’din P and Panigada S (2024) Density and abundance estimates of cetaceans in the Black Sea through aerial surveys (ASI/CeNoBS). Front. Mar. Sci. 11:1248950. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2024.1248950

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