Abundance and movements of sperm whales in the western Mediterranean basin

L. Rendell, S. Simião, J. M. Brotons, S. Airoldi, D. Fasano, A. Gannier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Sperm whales in the Mediterranean are classified as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN.
They are apparently isolated from adjacent Atlantic populations, and
subject to anthropogenic pressures including interactions with illegal
driftnet fisheries, ship strikes, ingestion of debris and underwater
noise.Photo-identification data opportunistically collected from the western Mediterranean basin show that individual sperm whales regularly move in excess of 500 km across the western basin, suggesting that this area is occupied by a single population.The best abundance estimate for this region is approximately 400 animals, with confidence intervals between 200 and 1000.Given the mortality levels reported in the literature, this figure suggests
that the conservation status of sperm whales in this region is very
serious. Immediate priority should be placed both on conducting
systematic surveys for abundance estimation and on measures to reduce
the mortality associated with driftnet fishing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Sperm whale
  • Mediterranean
  • Abundance
  • Movement
  • Photo-identification


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