Urgent call
  Signatories of the call
  The decline
  Conservation needs

What should be done

  Challenges and benefits
  The Mediterranean common dolphin
  Disappearing Dolphins VIDEO
  Background information
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  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).



In 2003 the Mediterranean population of common dolphins was classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.

In 2004, ACCOBAMS presented a comprehensive 90-page Conservation Plan for Mediterranean common dolphins. The Plan was "strongly welcomed" by the 2nd Meeting of the Parties of ACCOBAMS (Resolution 2.20).

In 2005, the Mediterranean population of common dolphins was included in Appendix I and II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (Bonn Convention - CMS). The population was already included in Appendix II but the listing - formerly limited to a "western Mediterranean population" - was extended to the whole Mediterranean population of common dolphins.

Also in 2005, the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS recommended immediate financial and institutional support to small-scale projects for common dolphin conservation.

In 2007, the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS was “deeply concerned that despite the strong scientific evidence, strategic planning and multiple expressions of concern and recommendations, inter alia by the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee and relevant ACCOBAMS Partners, insufficient action has been taken to ensure recovery of the common dolphin in the region”. The Parties were therefore urged to implement the conservation plan for common dolphins and introduce relevant activities into their national action plans. The Secretariat of ACCOBAMS was requested to convey the international concern for common dolphins to the environment and fisheries directorates of the European Commission, in particular for the inclusion of the common dolphin in Annex 2 to the Habitat Directive (Resolution 3.17).




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