The Department of Fisheries and Marine Research of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment announces that the research part of acoustic and visual scientific research on cetaceans (whales and dolphins) has been successfully completed in the maritime waters of the Republic of Cyprus.
The project is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020 by seventy five percent (75%) and by national funds by twenty-five percent (25%). It is one year old and a total of three research activities (August 2016, October 2016 and May 2017) have been completed to cover the one-year seasonality. The surveys were extended to an area west and south of Cyprus up to fifty nautical miles.
It is noted that this is the first survey entirely made by the CC. The findings of this research will be made public and expected to help the scientific community to fill the cognitive gaps that exist for cetaceans, especially in the wider region of the eastern Mediterranean, thus enhancing the efforts made to protect and conserve these species.
The main objective of the survey is to collect information on cetaceans (whales and dolphins) found in the CCS marine waters for species such as Stenella coeruleoalba, Steno bredanensis, Tursiops truncates, Cheddolphinus Grampus griseus etc., and further identifying the Physeter macrocephalus species. In particular, their main goal is to identify the size of populations of all species and assess their geographic distribution, to identify of critical areas and habitats as well as the main threats and pressures to the cetaceans.
In addition, the project aims to conduct visual and acoustical research in the marine waters of Cyprus, with visual monitoring and recordings of medium frequency sounds in specific areas for the estimation of cetacean distribution and abundance and, moreover, recording of higher frequency sounds for the purpose of detecting Zifi (Ziphius cavirostris).
The survey was conducted with a suitable vessel at sea to meet the technical specifications of the project, with a capacity of up to ten people, attended by special scientists and other staff.