ESR 5:205-213 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00092

Assessing accidental entanglement as a threat to the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus

Alexandros A. Karamanlidis1,*, Evgenia Androukaki1, Stella Adamantopoulou1, Archontia Chatzispyrou1, William M. Johnson2, Spyros Kotomatas1, Anastasios Papadopoulos3, Vangelis Paravas1, Giorgos Paximadis4, Rosa Pires5, Eleni Tounta1, Panagiotis Dendrinos1

1MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, 18 Solomou Street, Athens 10682, Greece
2The Monachus Guardian, c/o M. Schnellmann, Wernerstraße 26, 3006 Bern, Switzerland
3Fisheries Research Institute, Nea Peramos, Kavala 64007, Greece
4WWF Greece, 26 Filellinon Street, Athens 10558, Greece
5Parque Natural da Madeira, Caminho do Meio, Funchal 9064-512, Madeira, Portugal

ABSTRACT: The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is the most endangered seal in the world with <600 ind. currently surviving. The species faces a number of threats to its survival: accidental entanglement has been identified as one of the most important amongst them. Here we made the first attempt to systematically describe the nature of this threat and assess its impact on Mediterranean monk seal populations. We based our study on information from an extensive literature review, questionnaires carried out in various locations in Greece and necropsies performed in Greece and in the Madeira Islands, Portugal. Our results indicate that accidental entanglement has been, and still is, a major threat to the species in its main distribution area in the northeastern Mediterranean, and that this threat may increase throughout the seal’s range. Accidental entanglement occurs mainly with fishing nets, and affects mostly sub-adult seals. Short-term conservation actions should include the identification of critical pupping sites and their protection through the establishment and enforcement of protective measures. A long-term course of action will require detailed knowledge of the causes of accidental entanglement of Mediterranean monk seals in fishing gear.

KEY WORDS: Endangered species · Mediterranean monk seal · Accidental entanglement · Conservation · Seal-fishery interactions · Greece · Madeira

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Cite this article as: ‑Karamanlidis AA, Androukaki E, Adamantopoulou S, Chatzispyrou A and others (2008) Assessing accidental entanglement as a threat to the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus. Endang Species Res 5:205-213

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