Today is the 16th Annual International Day of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise – a critically endangered sub-population that continues to decline decades after the scientific recognition of its dwindling population size.
It is with regret that yet another porpoise species is declining with full knowledge of threats to its very survival. Whether it is the Vaquita, the Yangtze finless porpoise or the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise, it is clear that these small, intelligent marine mammals cannot withstand the pressures we put on them. They each are considered to be Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
There are only seven species of porpoise on Planet Earth, and together we must continue to work for their conservation, protection and survival. The Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise has been declining since at least the mid-20th century and it is now time to change the downward population trajectories through education and action to protect these porpoises and their habitats.
It is simply not acceptable to have our collective legacy as one that allowed these porpoise species to move ever closer to extinction by sitting by as they silently drown.Dr. Anna Hall, President, Porpoise Conservation Society
The single greatest action we can do is to eliminate the risk of incidental death in fishing gear to porpoises and other forms of marine life. It is simply not acceptable to have our collective legacy as one that allowed these porpoise species to move ever closer to extinction by sitting by as they silently drown. Sustainable fisheries without by-catch is the solution. Protect porpoises, protect turtles, protect sharks, protect sea birds, protect all the non-targeted species by eliminating the incidental mortality that is killing tens of thousands of marine animals each year. We must challenge ourselves to support responsible fisheries by being conscious consumers. Be aware – by buying aware. Protecting porpoises starts with education, and can be done by every single person who purchases seafood. Sustainable and responsible fisheries is the only way forward to preserve a traditional way of life for coastal peoples and preserve the lives of the coastal porpoise species.
Dr. Anna Hall serves the Porpoise Conservation Society as lead scientist and President on the Board of Directors. She has been studying harbour and Dall’s porpoise for more than 20 years.