CETACEAN SIGHTINGS IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SEA DURING THE CRUISE IN SUMMER 2008

Cetacean sightings in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea during the cruise in summer 2008

Ayhan Dede, Adib Saad, Milad Fakhri, Bayram Öztürk

Faculty of Fisheries, Istanbul University, 34470, Laleli-Istanbul, TURKEY
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), 34820, Beykoz- Istanbul, TURKEY
General Establishment of Fisheries, Tishreen University, SYRIA
National Center for Marine Sciences-CNRSL, LEBANON

Abstract

The Eastern Mediterranean Sea is one of the least studied areas for cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea. Lack of basic knowledge such as species composition and habitats makes it impossible to develop effective conservation measures. Therefore, in order to determine the species composition, size and distribution of cetacean populations, cetacean sighting data were collected during a research cruise carried out in summer (11-24 July) 2008 in the international water of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Turkish, Lebanese and Syrian territorial waters. Totally 860 nautical miles (nm) of survey effort was made and 16 sightings were recorded. During the study, five Physeter macrocephalus in one sighting, 53 Stenella coeruleoalba in five sightings, two Grampus griseus in one sighting (associated with S. coeruleoalba individuals), two Delphinus delphis in one sighting and 27 Tursiops truncatus in nine sightings were recorded. The overall sighting rate was 0.18 sightings/10 nm. This is a preliminary study for understanding cetacean populations in the Eastern Mediterrannean Sea, but the results of this study will provide basic information for developing conservation plans in the area.

Keywords: Whale, dolphin, distribution, group size, sighting rate, Eastern Mediterranean Sea