What do you know about Alboran cetaceans and marine turtles ?

31 July 2014 | News story

The Alboran Sea is one of the richest biodiversity points in the Mediterranean Sea, but at the same time, it is one of the busiest shipping routes. The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation IUCN has just published 9 fact sheets of cetacean and 5 of marine turtles that frequent the waters of the Alboran Sea. These fact sheets aim at describing the current knowledge about these species in the Alboran Sea and their fragile status of conservation.

The Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation IUCN has recently released a series of fact sheets and information packs pertain¬ing to 9 cetaceans and 5 sea turtles in an attempt to inform the global community of these phenomenal creatures and also the threats they face.

The publications are based on years of data collection and sightings and describe the geo¬graphical distributions of the different species along with the major threats present and the conservation measures that have been implemented. The most serious threats come in the form of acoustic disturbances from marine traffic, ingestion of plastics & other waste and chemical pollution which all have major impacts on the safety and population security of the marine fauna.
The publications provide detailed information on a selection of the marine fauna found in the area, including six species that are listed as either ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’, the high¬est risk categories: 

•Sperm Whales
•Risso’s Dolphins
•Long-Finned Pilot Whales
•Common Dolphins
•Striped Dolphins
•Bottlenose Dolphins
•Killer Whales
•Fin Whales
•Cuvier’s Beaked Whales
•Loggerhead Sea Turtles
•Hawksbill Sea Turtles
•Leatherback Sea Turtles
•Kemp Sea Turtles
•Green Sea Turtles

For the marine turtles, the records concern:

•Loggerhead Sea Turtles
•Hawksbill Sea Turtles
•Leatherback Sea Turtles
•Kemp Sea Turtles
•Green Sea Turtles

Following the IUCN Red List, almost all of these species are in danger of extinction.
More precisely, six species are listed as either ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’, the high¬est risk categories.

“The Alboran Sea is a critical transit connection between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Most of these species are characterized by migratory and travel long distances, especially turtles, hence the good condition of the waters of the Alboran Sea and good regulation of human activities are critical to their survival” said Andrés Alcantara, coordina¬tor of IUCN-Med POCTEFEX-Alboran project.
The information contained in these records have been collected jointly by the S.L. ALNILAM Research and Conservation experts from the Biological station of Doñana (Spain), CIRCE (Conservation, Information and Research on Cetaceans), and the Spanish Herpetological Association.

The publications are part of the POCTEFEX-Alborán project, “Shared natural management of cross-border space”, which aims to facilitate the exchange of experience between front line contributors and stakeholders to identify the priorities that can improve natural resource govern¬ance in the Alboran Sea and pro¬mote sustainable and integrated management of the environment.
The projects linked to the Program for the Spain-External Cross-Border Co-operation (POCTEFEX) are co-funded by the Regional Development European Fund (FEDER in French). The project has also received the co-funding of the Biodiversity Foundation of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

For more information: Andrés Alcántara