IDP 2017 Results

Gg 01PRESS RELEASE, ROME 14/05/2018 -  ODO publishes the results of Ischia Dolphin Project 2017.  The campaign engaged researchers and volunteers in 77 sea journeys, travelling 2540 nautical miles, totalling 674 hours of monitoring effort.

During the months of May until September 2017, 67 cetaceans’ sightings were carried out of 5 different species, with an observation effort of 71 hours and 194 nm travelled in the presence of the animals.

The striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) was encountered 29 times, thus confirming to be the most sighted species of the area, followed by the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) with 15 sightings and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) with 14. A very welcome back species was the Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) spotted 4 times; whereas the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) was only recorded 2 times, and in 3 instances, it was not possible to identify the species.

With regards to the sperm whale, the photo-id analysis confirmed again this year the presence of Brunone, a male sperm whale, whose first sighting dates back 2004, and who was sighted regularly during the years both with other young males ‘bachelors’ and alone. Among the photo-identified sperm whales, Brunone shows the highest degree of fidelity to the site, with a presence of 14 years in the waters of the study area. 4 new individuals have been added to the catalogue of this species, currently counting 86 animals. The fact that the rate of new additions is constantly positive indicates that the number of new sperm whales to be found in the area is still significant. 

The 2017 campaign has offered the opportunity to carry out 4 sightings of Risso’s dolphins, a relatively spread-out species in the Mediterranean yet not very abundant and still very unknown to the scientific community. During the encounters, 13 different individuals were photo-identified, all of them already known and included in the catalogue – currently counting 60 animals -  often sighted together during the years, as evidence to their tight social relations which characterise this species. Giotto, for example, who was first sighted in 2015 as a calf swimming alongside his mother Cimabue, is now observed after three years, young adult roaming the waters with other peers.

With regards to conservation, ODO has reached an important achievement. During last October the coastal waters off Ischia (for the common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, and fin whales) and the Campano and Pontino Archipelagos (for the sperm whale) were officially qualified as Important Marine Mammals Areas (IMMAs) by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), thanks to their application submitted in 2016 by ODO. Such status recognises to the qualified areas a key role for the respective species, which translates in the implementation of specific conservation measures by each Country. 

Oceanomare Delphis Onlus wishes to thank the Amici di Riccardo Domenici association for their constant support, the Municipality of Casamicciola Terme, and Dodotronic, for their technical advice. 

Ischia Dolphin Project 2017 was possible thanks to a team of 10 researchers and 54 volunteers from all over the world: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, The Netherlands, The United Kindgom, and The US. A team of bloggers followed the life of the volunteers on board the research vessel Jean Gab, read the blog here: Jean Gab’s Diary.

Ischia Dolphin Project 2018 has just started! For more info on how to participate, visit our website here.