Mammals

General information

The monitoring of marine mammals covers biological parameters (abundance, abundance trends, distribution and health) of marine mammal species native to the Baltic Sea.

 

Sub-programme: Seal abundance

The abundance and distribution of the three seal species native to the Baltic Sea (grey seal, harbour seal and ringed seal) are monitored at their haul-out locations by aerial, ship-based and land-based efforts and currently coordinated by the HELCOM Seal Expert Group.

HELCOM core indicator linked to the sub-programme is 'Population growth rate, abundance and distribution of marine mammals'.


 

Sub-programme: Harbour porpoise abundance

A permanent or long-term program for regionally coordinated monitoring of the harbour porpoise abundance does not exist currently but the aerial porpoise surveys (SCANS II) by Sweden, Denmark and Germany contribute to the design of the future monitoring programme. The SAMBAH project (Static acoustic monitoring of the Baltic harbour porpoise) produced information on the distribution and abundance of the species in the Baltic. The results form a basis for recommendations on the design of future coordinated programs for harbour porpoise monitoring.

HELCOM core indicator linked to the sub-programme is 'Population growth rate, abundance and distribution of marine mammals'

  

Sub-programme: Health status

Monitoring of mammal health is performed by necropsies of by-caught and stranded seals, and in Sweden and Finland also on hunted seals. The monitoring of health of mammals is carried out in some Contracting Parties and on different levels. Data is compiled and assessments are coordinated by the HELCOM Seal Expert Group.

HELCOM core indicators linked to the sub-programme are 'Nutritional status of seals' and 'Reproductive status of marine mammals'.

Note: HELCOM SEAL 7-2013 recommended that no hunting programs should be initiated to fulfil the data needs of core indicators. Further, due to the fact that today only the Baltic Sea grey seal population is above the Limit Reference Level, and according to the HELCOM Seal Rec. (27-28) “no allowances for deliberate killing should be issued” for ringed seals and harbor seals, and for grey seals only, “if in the population a significant positive long-term growth rate can be observed, and if licenses for anthropogenic removals are issued, special care has to be taken so that the positive long-term growth rate is not jeopardized”.


Responsible HELCOM subsidiary bodies

State and Conservation

Seal Expert Group

Contact information: HELCOM Secretariat