ASI: End of the aerial campaign with the Aegean Sea survey

The ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative aerial Campaign has reached its end by covering the Aegean Sea. This area is of particular importance for this ambitious project as it includes several Cetacean Critical Habitats and Important Marine Mammal Areas.

Despite heavy weather conditions with strong winds, the teams  observing from two planes covered the transects with a total of 5 long flights. Their efforts were rewarded with the sightings of megafauna, such has sperm whale, Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins but also seabirds, and unfortunately lots of marine debris.

Surveying the Aegean Sea has also been an opportunity for the Black Sea scientists included in these two observers teams flying over the area, as it has allowed them to gain experience and capacity for the next step of the ASI which is the upcoming observation campaign in the Black Sea. In addition, the ASI campaign in the Aegean has been a great human adventure with a nice cohesion in the field among the scientific observers taking into account their very different backgrounds, even if one the teams faced a challenge with a small incident in the form of a flat front tyre of the aircraft but managed to overcome that successfully!

The high abundance and distribution of species and marine litters observed in the Aegean Sea underline the need to continue the efforts in implementing conservation measures in this region and the need to raise awareness to address marine litter issues causing threats to cetaceans.