Water Sportsmen sight Porpoises, Baltic Sea

Project location

Baltic Sea, Germany

Project duration and start

1 year, 2009

Project Sponsor


Project description

In the Baltic Sea porpoises are threatened with extinction. Without strict protective measures, these singularly indigenous, mere 1,60m long whales will have been eradicated in but a few years. Currently only about 600 of these small blunt-nose whales still exist.  Pollution, underwater noise and particularly fishery make the porpoises’ survival difficult. 

For the effective protection of the Baltic Sea porpoise, accurate knowledge regarding their seasonal distribution and the preferred habitat is necessary.

To obtain information about the distribution and life of the porpoises, the Association for the Protection of Marine Mammals e.V. turned to sailors and other boaters. Crews were asked to report porpoise sightings detailing dates, wind conditions and the position - preferably with GPS data. The sighting-data is of great value for example, in the designation of marine reserve areas.

Project goals

  • Improvement of the porpoises’ seasonal distribution and preferred habitat database, especially in less travelled areas of the Baltic Sea
  • Passing on the results to experts (workshops, publications) and the public
  • Designation of reserves for the Europe-wide network “Natura 2000” (Flora-Fauna-Habitat policy) based on the sightings-data
  • Raising the water sportsman’s awareness for the porpoises, their  endangered position and for a species conservation-orientated behaviour

Project partner / Project coordinator

GSM – Gesellschaft zum Schutz der Meeressäugetiere e. V.