PostHeaderIcon Strandings

In recent years the ACCOBAMS area has been the scene of major cetacean mortality events, involving mass strandings over wide geographical areas, which have evoked great concern and have attracted considerable attention from the scientific community.
In order to address new outbreaks of mortality events related to chemical, acoustic and biological pollution, as well as related to infectious agents and harmful algal blooms, affecting cetacean populations or their critical habitats, the ACCOBAMS Parties have decided to create a task force for marine mammal mortality and special events, made up of international experts.
Cetacean strandings create an important opportunity for the gathering of much needed knowledge on natural and human-induced mortality of cetacean populations, and provide an available source for precious additional information, among other things, on the biology, pathology, toxicology and population genetics of the concerned species. Stranding networks exist in the Agreement area, each of them having various degrees of the extent of their spatial and temporal coverage, efficiency, and institutional involvement.
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 July 2012 08:06)


PostHeaderIcon Chemical pollution

Several micro- and macro-parasites that may negatively influence population growth have been identified and the role of chemical pollutants in facilitating the emergence of morbillivirus epidemics has been thoroughly investigated . Mediterranean cetaceans are exposed to a cocktail of toxic compounds, some time at very high concentrations.

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 July 2012 08:04)


PostHeaderIcon Population structure

The importance of assessing “stock identity and structure” through a dedicated working group was highlighted in Recommendations adopted by the Third Meeting of the ACCOBAMS Parties and reconfirmed when the Fifth Meeting of the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee agreed to create a Population Structure Working Group (PSGW) and requested a proposal for its future activity.The importance of information on population structure had been recognized in the ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative as well and the initial efforts of the PSWG will focus on genetic analyses.
In November 2010, the ACCOBAMS Parties adopted a new Resolution on "Population structure studies". For the upcoming triennum (2011-2013), the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee will aim at:
  • providing a comprehensive and detailed summary of information available for each species in the ACCOBAMS area in terms of material relevant for genetic analyses;
  • developing a communications network involving the Tissues Banks and the National stranding networks of the ACCOBAMS Area, to facilitate the collection of new samples and to create a public database that is accessible on the ACCOBAMS website;
  • collaborating with ASCOBANS and the IWC in order to coordinate efforts and to avoid duplication
The7th Meeting of the Scientific Committee suggested that, a joint workshop ACCOBAMS/ASCOBANS on the population structure be organised at the occasion of the next Meeting of the ECS (2012).
A Working Group was created and is composed by :  Stefania Gaspari, Ada Natoli, ASCOBANS & Pelagos Sanctuary.

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Recommendation 6.2 

Resolution 4.11

Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 July 2012 08:05)


PostHeaderIcon Marine Protected Areas

Areas of special importance for cetaceans in the ACCOBAMS area
Areas of special importance for the common dolphin and other cetaceans
  1. Kalamos (Greece);
  2. The Alborán Sea;
  3. Waters surrounding the island of Ischia (south-eastern Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy);
  4. Waters surrounding the island of Malta and south-eastern Sicily, Italy;
  5. The eastern Ionian Sea and the Gulf of Corinth (Greece);
  6. The Sazani Island – Karaburuni Peninsula (Adriatic and Ionian Sea, Albania);
  7. The Gulf of Saronikos and adjacent waters (Argo-Saronikos and southern Evvoikos Gulf, Greece);
  8. Waters surrounding the northern Sporades (Greece);
  9. The northern Aegean Sea (Greece); and
  10. Waters surrounding the Dodecanese (Greece).
Areas of special importance for Black Sea cetaceans
  1. The Kerch Strait for the bottlenose dolphin and the harbour porpoise (Russian Federation, Ukraine);
  2. Cape Sarych to Cape Khersones for bottlenose and common dolphins and the harbour porpoise (Ukraine); and
  3. Cape Anaklia to Sarp for the common dolphin and the harbour porpoise (Georgia).
Areas of special importance for the bottlenose dolphin
  1. The Amvrakikos Gulf (northwestern Greece);
  2. Waters along east coast of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago (designated as part of Croatian ecological network, proposed for protection as regional park, and recognized as a potential NATURA 2000 site) ;
  3. The Turkish Straits system (also used by all Black Sea cetacean species);
  4. North western area of Sardinia (Italy); and
  5. Tuscany archipelago (Italy).
Area of special importance for the sperm whale
  1. Southwest Crete and the Hellenic Trench (Greece).
Areas of special importance and diversity for various cetacean species
  1. The Alborán Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, critical habitat and migration corridor for large numbers of ten of the region’s cetacean species, being the most diverse cetacean habitat in the ACCOBAMS region;
  2. The Strait of Sicily for fin whales and common, bottlenose and striped dolphins; and
  3. Sallum marine protected area (Egypt), sensitive marine ecosystems, including seagrass meadows, shallow and intermediate depth marine habitats.

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Last Updated (Sunday, 09 November 2014 16:01)


PostHeaderIcon Anthropogenic noise

Although we know that anthropogenic sound in the ocean is a serious threat, we do not have sufficient information at this time to understand the full extent of the problem. One of the biggest challenges faced in regulating the effects of noise is our ignorance of the characteristics and levels of sound exposures that may pose risks to marine mammals. Given the current state of our knowledge we must therefore take a precautionary approach in the regulation of noise. 
Thanks to the collaboration of Ocean care and NRDC, a peer review on the impact of ocean noise pollution was submitted to the United Nation Division for ocean Affairs and the law of the Sea (DOALOS), pursuant to paragraph 107 of Resolution 61/222 (2009) inviting Members States and Intergovernmental Organisations to submit appropriate peer-review articles on the ocean noise issue for DOALOS website.
Following the adoption by the 4th Meeting of the Parties of the Resolution 4.17 on “Guidelines to address the impact of anthropogenic noise on cetaceans in the ACCOBAMS area”, a Working Group was established that will focus on the mitigation of the noise impact issues.

The composition of the Working Group on anthropogenic noise can be found here.

The Terms of Reference for the Working Group can be found here.

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New documents:

  • Joint CMS,ASCOBANS and ACCOBAMS Noise Working group Statement of Concern on past and proposed offshore exploration activities in the Adriatic Sea (english only)
  •  Anthropogenic noise and marine mammals: review of the effort in addressing the impact of anthropogenic underwater noise in the ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS areas (english, french)
  • Implementation of underwater noise mitigation measures by industries : Operational and economical constraints (english, french)
  • Methodological Guide: “Guidance on underwater noise mitigation measures” (english, french)


Please check the Marine Science Review from the SeaWeb from August 23rd, 2012.

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