Research project is investigating changes in habitat and behaviors of bottlenose dolphins in Western Liguria
Friend of the Sea, the world’s leading global certification standard for products and services that respect and protect the marine environment, has certified the Delfini del Ponente research project of Imperia, Italy. The project focuses mainly on studying bottlenose dolphins to understand the causes of an increase in appearances of this species in area of Western Liguria. The certification covers the organization’s eco-tourism, research and educational programs.
“A change in wildlife behavior and habitat is often masking a more serious problem, such as pollution or human activity that negatively affects marine life,” said Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. “We are honored to be supporting Delfini del Ponente in their important research work.”
Delfini del Ponente was developed by biologists and naturalists from the Costa Balenae Cooperative and Delfini del Ponente researchers in Imperia, in 2018. The project seeks to discover the causes of an increase in the number of sightings of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Western Liguria Sea, not been considered among ideal habitats for this species, that preferer shallow and sandy waters. The change has been noted by research bodies, fishermen, whale watchers and boaters.
To learn the truth, the project is engaging in extensive data collection. The organization is measuring dolphin populations and other data points from rubber boats up to 10 days per month. The peculiarity of the project’s sampling design is that data is collected all year-round, thus allowing an understanding into the differences in the dolphins’ presence between seasons. Students and volunteers are participating along with professional researchers coming from all around the world.
“This is a very great collaboration and opportunity to create a group of people aiming for the conservation and protection of the marine environmental. We are really proud to be certified by the Friend of the Sea for our activities and we are all looking for to work with you.”, said Davide Ascheri, responsible and coordinator of the project.
The Friend of the Sea Dolphin and Whale Watching standard has the goal of minimizing unintentional disturbance to dolphins and whales, along with the irrespective habitats, through key principles of conduct. These include setting a maximum number of vessels in the watching zone, moderating approach distance, conducting training programs for operators and crew and collecting scientific data. The standard also forbids swimming with the animals and using mono-use plastics.