SAMBAH was an international project with the ultimate goal to secure the conservation of the Baltic Sea harbour porpoise. The project involved all EU countries around the Baltic Sea.
To achieve this, SAMBAH aimed to increase the knowledge about the Baltic Sea harbour porpoise, estimating densities and total abundance. The project also produced distribution maps of harbour porpoises and identifies possible hotspots, habitat preferences and areas of higher risk of conflict with anthropogenic activities.
The new knowledge is being spread among policymakers, managers, stakeholders and the public, to make possible a management of the population based on sound knowledge about its size and distribution.
SAMBAH runned from January 2010 to September 2015. The study area stretches from the Darss and Limhamn underwater ridges in the southwest to the northern border of the Åland and Archipelago Seas in the north. Approximately 300 porpoise click detectors was deployed for two years from May 2011 to April 2013. The collected data was analysed and the first results presented in 2013 – 2015. The final report was submitted to the European Commission in the beginning of 2016.
The project was funded by 50% by the EU programme LIFE+ Nature and by 50% by national co-financers. The projects full name was Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise.
- Sweden: Kolmården Wildlife Park (coordinator), Swedish Authority for Marine and Water Management (SwAM)
- Finland: Turku University of Applied Sciences, Ministry of Environment, Särkänniemi Adventure Park (Tampere dolphinarium)
- Poland: University of Gdańsk, Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection
- Denmark: National Environment Research Institute, Danish Forest and Nature Agency
- AquaBiota Water Research wrote the application in collaboration with Kolmården Wildlife Park, supported by all project partners and collaborators. AquaBiota administrated and managed the project, and carried out the spatial modelling of harbour porpoise density in collaboration with CREEM. Further AquaBiota identified important areas for harbour porpoises in Swedish waters, evaluate risks from present anthropogenic activities and propose mitigation measures, all to serve as a basis for management by the County Administrative Boards and SwAM.
- The Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at the University of St Andrews, UK, will carry out statistical analyses of porpoise density and abundance within the SAMBAH project area.
- The Baltic States will be included in the project through subcontractors. They will deploy and service click detectors in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian waters.
- The German Oceanographic Museum will join forces with SAMBAH using national funding.
Results from the SAMBAH project clearly shows harbour porpoises to be present in a large part of the Baltic Proper. Please read more in this press release or in this report (Swedish):
Carlström, J. & Carlén, I. 2016. Skyddsvärda områden för tumlare i svenska vatten. AquaBiota Report 2016:04. 90 pp.
Project data were used in a scientific study identifying two areas with higher density of harbour porpoises during breeding season. One of these areas is exclusively used by the Baltic Sea porpoises and is believed to be the most important reproduction area for this population.
More information about SAMBAH can be found at the project web site.