The role of historical dolphin takes and habitat degradation in shaping the present status of northern Adriatic cetaceans

Authors

  • Giovanni Bearzi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Tethys Research Institute, c/o Acquario Civico, Viale G.B. Gadio 2, 20121 Milan, Italy
    • Tethys Research Institute, c/o Venice Natural History Museum, Santa Croce, 30135 Venezia, Italy
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  • Drasko Holcer,

    1. Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation, Zad Bone 11, 51551 Veli Losinj, Croatia
    2. Croatian Natural History Museum, Department of Zoology, Demetrova 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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  • Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

    1. Tethys Research Institute, c/o Acquario Civico, Viale G.B. Gadio 2, 20121 Milan, Italy
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Abstract

  • 1.Nine cetacean species have been reliably reported to occur in the shallow northern Adriatic Sea since the 17th century. However, only two species were considered regular there until the 1970s: the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).
  • 2.Short-beaked common dolphins have progressively disappeared from the northern Adriatic and are now rare in the region. The systematic culling campaigns and other takes that occurred between the second half of the 18th century and the 1960s, and habitat degradation in subsequent years are the most likely causes of their decline.
  • 3.Today, common bottlenose dolphins are the only regular component of the northern Adriatic cetacean fauna; however, they now occur at low densities, and their fragmented groups are facing significant anthropogenic threats.
  • 4.The future of northern Adriatic dolphins will depend on precautionary action to prevent further decline and on intensified research effort aimed at identifying the most effective mitigation strategies.

Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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