Present status of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus, (Hermann, 1779) on the coasts of Foça in the Bay of Izmir
Bayram Öztürk, Ayhan Dede
University of Istanbul, Faculty of Aquatic Products, Laleli-lstanbul, TURKEY
The areas which bear habitat features for Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) were searched in Foça, as a pilot region for the project of Mediterranean monk seal. Seven caves and seven shelters were found. Interviews with the local fishermen revealed that seals were observed 29 times (max.) in 1991. 14 times in 1992 and five times in 1993. Besides, according to these fishermen, three different seals were defined in Foça and they were mostly seen around the Orak and Incir Islands. Direct observations have been made to find seals in Foça region but without success. The areas between Foça-Karaburun and Foça-Mordoğan were also searched. Compared with Foça. more seal observations were made by the fishermen in Karaburun and Mordoğan in 1992. Investigations were carried out in Foça on fishing details such as the fishing grounds, the species caught. the fishing gears and the size of the damage in the nets. The area was influenced by the fishing made with purse-seine. trawl and trammel nets. Out of 87 damaged trammel nets examined during the study, only 20 included the damages due to seals. Some human activities like fishing and tourism were noted to cause stress for seals in the area near the potential seal habitat.
Keywords: Mediterranean monk seal, habitat, distribution, Aegean Sea, Foça, fisheries