Factsheets of endangered marine species

ALBORAN

Abstract: 

The Alboran Sea is one of the points with the greatest biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea but also is one of the world's busiest shipping routes which means that noise pollution, ingestion of plastics, military maneuvers, the illegal fishing and chemical pollution constitute serious threats to various species that inhabit the Alboran sea.Almost all of these species in the Alboran Sea are characterized by being migratory and travel long distances, especially turtles, therefore, the good condition of the waters of the Alboran Sea and good regulation of human activities are essential to survival of these species. At this respect, the project has implemented initiatives that help conserve and protect these species. In particular 14 fiches of endangered species have been produced, edited and published containing information on the main characteristic, sighting points of sightings, information and distribution points, major threats to each species and conservation measures for its preservation.

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
2014
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Nature protection
Type of Issue: 
Environment aspects
Type of practice: 
Tools
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Yes
Coherence with other processes: 
Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer

  • Which are the endangered species in the Alboran Sea?
  • Which are their main characteristics and threats?
  • Which concrete actions can be put in place in order to contribute to their protection?

Implementation Context

The Alboran Sea is one of the points with the greatest biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea but also is one of the world's busiest shipping routes which means that noise pollution, ingestion of plastics, military maneuvers, the illegal fishing and chemical pollution constitute serious threats to various species that inhabit the Alboran sea.

Almost all of these species in the Alboran Sea are characterized by being migratory and travel long distances, especially turtles, therefore, the good condition of the waters of the Alboran Sea and good regulation of human activities are essential to survival of these species.

At this respect, it is important to carry out initiatives that help conserve and protect these species. In this context, the Alboran project has promoted voluntary and environmental protection activities to contribute to its protection. The Alboran project has also found necessary to improve the knowledge and the status of these species. In this context, the Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation IUCN has produced, edited and published 14 fiches of species present in the Alboran Sea waters with the aim to disseminate knowledge on these species in the Alboran Sea and its delicate condition.

Aspects / Objectives

The final objective of the initiative to contribute to protect the endangered species by improving the knowledge of them its threats as well as by establishing concrete conservation actions.

Method

The necessity and main inputs to produce the fiches came from the results of the II Working Group cetaceans and sea turtles held in Doñana (Spain) between 21 and 22 of October 2013 aiming at sharing existing information, encourage the development of conservation plans and identify key areas of biodiversity on these species in the Alboran Sea. The workshop was attended by eighteen experts from eleven Spanish institutions that shared and analyzed the information available to this topic. They also discuss and made important contributions on the following topics:

  • Knowledge of the situation of cetaceans and sea turtles in the Alboran.
  • Methodologies for data collection and management.
  • Problematic conservation and management.
  • Education and outreach programs.
  • Plans for species conservation.
  • Identify important for cetaceans and turtles as a basis for the identification of marine protected areas.

 

Additionally and more specifically, the information contained in the fiches have been coordinated by experts from Alnilam Investigación y Conservación S.L., the Biological Station of Doñana (Superior Council for Scientific Research), CIRCE (Conservation, Information and Research on Cetaceans) and the Spanish Herpetological Association.

Main Outputs / Results

The output has been 14 fiches, 9 from cetacean and 5 from sea turtles with presence in the Alboran sea.

 

The Cetacean species are sperm whale, Risso, black pilot whale, fin whale, killer whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, common dolphin, striped dolphin and bottlenose dolphin. On the other hand, sea turtles cover the following: turtles: green loggerhead, hawksbill, leatherback, and olive ridley. Almost all of them are at risk of extinction according to the Red List of Threatened Species of IUCN. Specifically, six of them are in the two highest categories of risk of extinction according to the IUCN, in "Critically Endangered" and "Endangered".

 

Thus, the sperm whale, common dolphin, turtle and green turtle mask are "in danger", while the hawksbill and olive ridley are "critically endangered" according to data collected by the IUCN. The remaining species are classified as "vulnerable" or are not reported in the list due to lack of data.

 

The fiches contain information on the main characteristic, sighting points of sightings, information and distribution points, major threats to each species and conservation measures for its preservation.

 

Transferability

The conservation of endangered species is of key importance to contribute to ensure good conditions of the natural and maritime habitats. At this respect, and in order to put in place initiatives to improve their protection it is essential to count with precise and up-to date information and data on the main characteristic and threats of the endangered species. Also important is to build specific actions to contribute to improve their conservation.

At this respect, the 14 fiches elaborated in the framework of the Alboran project represent a very useful tool to progress in this direction being easily transferred to other maritime areas.

Contact Person

Andrés Alcántara

E-mail: andres.alcantara@iucn.org

Responsible Entity

IUCN

Costs / Funding Source

Funding Source: the initiative was developed within the ALBORAN project, funded by POCTEFEX program (ERDF funds) which has a total budget of 1.425.240,68 euros.

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