The number of porpoises in the critically endangered Baltic Sea population has been estimated to approximately 450 animals (95% confidence limits 90-997). Modelled maps of porpoise seasonal distribution show that the most important area during May-December when porpoises give birth, nurse their calves and mate, is around the midsea banks south of Gotland. These results are based on a two-year long acoustic data collection of harbour porpoise echolocation signals at 304 positions in all EU countries around the Baltic Sea, generating the world’s largest acoustic dataset on any animal to date. With this new knowledge on the population size and distribution in time and space, it is now possible to take effective and specific conservation measures.
This work has been conducted within the project SAMBAH – Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea harbour porpoise. SAMBAH is funded by the EU programme LIFE+, national funds and other co-financiers.
The results from the project were presented and possible conservation measures were discussed at an international conference at Kolmården Wildlife Park on 8-9 December 2014. 80 people from a large selection of stakeholder organisations from 10 different countries participated. The conference was immediately followed by a Swedish workshop arranged by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management together with the SAMBAH project. At the Swedish workshop activities with possible impacts on porpoises were presented, and possible solutions were discussed. 37 people from a wide range of stakeholder organisations participated.
The results of the conference and the workshop will be presented in reports and in short films. They will also be used as the base for ongoing and future national and international work to protect harbour porpoises in the Baltic region.