The campaign will survey harbour porpoises, dolphins and minke whales and establish a new baseline, 11 years after the assessments made during the SCANS II campaign in 2005. In Europe, these species are protected because of their vulnerability. Some, such as the harbour porpoise, occupy maritime areas where human activities are important and they are subject to pressures that threaten them, such as accidental capture in fishing gear.
Between 1994 (SCANS I) and 2005 (SCANS II), the European harbour porpoise population remained stable (around 350,000 individuals), but had moved southwards from the north of Europe, in particular towards the Channel and the Celtic seas. What will happen next summer? Are small cetacean populations still stable? What maritime spaces do they use in European waters?
Every year, several hundred porpoises, but also common dolphins, wash up on our coasts and accidental captures remain the most common cause of death. Knowing the status of small cetacean populations is essential to adapt the best conservation strategy.