A Conservation Literature Review for the Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena).

Open Access Literature Review 2015

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

UK waters encompass a wide range of seabed topography and physical and chemical conditions that create a huge diversity of marine ecosystems. These in turn influence the availability of biological resources that attract a significant diversity of marine mammals for European waters. In all, 28 cetacean species have been recorded in UK waters, of which eleven species occur regularly. Cetaceans in a given area are usually part of a larger and more widespread biological population. As a consequence of their wide ranges, all cetaceans are protected internationally through various conventions and agreements. Consequently, to be effective, their conservation needs must be considered on an international basis including the monitoring and surveillance essential to meet the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The smallest and most abundant cetacean in UK (and neighbouring) shelf areas is the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). The species occurs throughout continental shelf waters and may, therefore, be affected by a range of human activities occurring in the same waters. The most important pressures identified include mortality as bycatch in fishing gear, acoustic disturbance, and bioaccumulation of persistent organic chemicals such as PCBs. Some pressures may lead to mortality, whilst others raise concern about potential long-term impacts on population health. The pressures identified that require further research include habitat degradation, prey depletion (e.g. competition with fisheries for food) and climate change. It should be noted that the cumulative effect of any combination of these pressures may result in more deleterious consequences than any single pressure in isolation. Approaches to conservation need to be multifaceted, adaptable and tailored to particular local or regional conditions as appropriate. A key factor in determining whether our conservation efforts are effective is a better understanding of the abundance and distribution patterns of harbour porpoises, including seasonal variations, as well as better information on basic life history parameters such as reproductive rates and mortality. Such knowledge will help determine the magnitude of impacts experienced by the population and would help determine whether efforts aimed at reducing such pressures are effective. This paper outlines our current understanding of the anthropogenic pressures experienced by harbour porpoise and the mitigation options available to reduce these pressures. The UK currently has a conservation strategy for harbour porpoise, initially published in 2000, which is further supported by the UK Bycatch Response Strategy. Together these take a risk-based approach to harbour porpoise conservation. The strategies will be reviewed and updated where appropriate in light of the finding in this literature review.

Link To Publication

Similar Research

Anthropogenic sound and marine mammal health: measures of the nervous and immune systems before and after intense sound exposure

Pay-walled Journal Article 2004

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Anthropogenic sound is a potential stressor for marine mammals that may affect health, as has been demonstrated in other mammals. Therefore, we have initiated investigations on...
Read More

International Regulation Of Transboundary Pollutants: The Emerging Challenge Of Ocean Noise

Open Access Journal Article 2001

Ocena and Coastal Law Journal

Transboundary pollution law poses the challenge of addressing environmental problems irrespective of boundaries in an international legal system that values, above all, territorial sovereignty of individual...
Read More

A Brief Review of Anthropogenic Sound in the Oceans

Open Access Journal Article 2007

International Journal of Comparative Psychology

Sound in the oceans is generated by a variety of natural sources, such as breaking waves, rain, and marine animals, as well as a variety of...
Read More

Effect of anthropogenic low-frequency noise on the foraging ecology of Balaenoptera whales

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

Animal Conservation

The human contribution to ambient noise in the ocean has increased over the past 50 years, and is dominated by low-frequency (LF) sound (frequencies <1000 Hz)...
Read More

Response and Responsibility: Regulating Noise Pollution in the Marine Environment

Pay-walled Journal Article 2007

Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy

The ocean is becoming an increasingly noisy environment. With a rise in com-mercial shipping, resource extraction activities, and military-related activities,the underwater ocean environment is a virtual...
Read More

Influences of man-made noise and other human actions on cetacean behaviour

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

Behavioral reactions of cetaceans to man-made noises are highly variable, ranging from attraction (e.g. bow riding by dolphins) or no response through short-term changes in behaviour...
Read More

Determination of environmental sensitivity of acoustic propagation on continental shelves using an equivalent fluid parabolic equation model

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

A coupled environment and acoustic prediction system was developed to evaluate the sensitivity of acoustic propagation on the continental shelf to water column and sediment properties....
Read More

Effects of underwater noise on auditory sensitivity of a cyprinid fish

Pay-walled Journal Article 2001

Hearing Research

The ability of a fish to interpret acoustic information in its environment is crucial for its survival. Thus, it is important to understand how underwater noise...
Read More

Effects of noise exposure on click detection and the temporal resolution ability of the goldfish auditory system

Pay-walled Journal Article 2005

Hearing Research

Hearing specialist fishes investigated so far revealed excellent temporal resolution abilities, enabling them to accurately process temporal patterns of sounds. Because noise is a growing environmental...
Read More

The effects of noise on the auditory sensitivity of the bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus

Pay-walled Journal Article 2002

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology

As concerns about the effects of underwater anthropogenic noises on the auditory function of organisms increases, it is imperative to assess if all organisms are equally...
Read More