|The Mediterranean common dolphin|
Short-beaked common dolphins photographed near Kalamos, Greece. Photos ©Tethys Research Institute.
Once one of the most common cetacean species in the Mediterranean, the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) has declined throughout the region during the last 30-40 years. The causes remain poorly understood but are thought to include prey depletion caused by overfishing, bycatch in fishing gear and habitat degradation.
Determining the conservation status of Mediterranean common dolphins was cited as a priority in past cetacean action plans of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (Perrin 1988, Reeves & Leatherwood 1994). The 2000-2010 IUCN Action Plan for the world's cetaceans noted that common dolphins had declined dramatically in the central and eastern Mediterranean and stressed that conservation action was urgently needed to prevent extirpation in this portion of the species' range (Reeves et al. 2003).
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