Collisions with large ships, particularly cargo ships, are among the greatest threats to sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea.
The number of ships and the speed at which ships can travel has increased globally in recent decades, which means an increased risk of collisions and injuries to cetaceans, particularly where shipping activities overlap with these animals’ critical habitat.
To animals that are not killed immediately, a collision can result in horrific and severe injuries; trauma resulting in severe internal injuries, deep propeller scars, spines, severed tails, and fins are just some of the injuries recorded in live and stranded animals that have been victims of collisions. A cetacean that has suffered a serious injury from a ship strike often suffers a slow and painful death.
Some populations are more vulnerable to ship strikes, particularly those found near developed coastal areas or those found in large numbers in areas with high volumes of marine traffic.
In our study area, recognized as both an Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) and a Marine Protected Area (MPA), it is necessary to impose specific measures given the high density of the species.
These concrete measures should include modifying navigation routes and reducing speed.
In the photo, Tolomeo, a new individual of sperm whale photo-identified yesterday by the staff of Ischia Dolphin Project. The animal has fortunately survived a serious accident that has injured his back.