Mediterranean and Black Seas Cetaceans

23 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) have been recorded in the Mediterranean and Black Seas: 10 species are considered as being regular, whereas 13 are visitors or vagrant in these waters.

Regional Red List assessments have only been conducted for the 13 regular species: one was put forward to be qualified as Critically Endangered, five as Endangered, and three as Vulnerable. The other four were considered Data Deficient, meaning that there was inadequate information to assess their extinction risk.

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Main Threats and Conservation Action

Chemical (and noise) pollution, incidental mortality in fishing gear, overfishing, habitat loss and degradation, vessel traffic (and collision), as well as other human activities, are the main threats to cetaceans in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

One of the main conclusions is that more scientific data is needed for all the cetacean species, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean.

This work was carried out in collaboration with ACCOBAMS - the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area - and the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group.

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Short-beaked Common Dolphins - Endangered

Photo: Giovanni Bearzi Tethys

Mediterranean landscape
  • Marine mammals and sea turtles of the Mediterranean and Black Seas

    Marine mammals and sea turtles of the Mediterranean and Black Seas

    Photo: IUCN-Med