Report of the International Whaling Commission (1997)


Information on the harbour porpoise in Spanish waters was collected and reviewed, giving an updated list of observations (strandings, incidental catches and sightings) for the period 1978-94 . The species was recorded throughout the period studied, although the number of stranded animals varied from year to year, appearing year round but most frequently in March.
At present the species is absent from the western Mediterranean, although there are indications of its sporadic presence in the area of the Gibraltar Straits and at some points of the north African coast. Recent data from the Canary and Azores Islands may indicate a retraction of the area of distribution of the species from this part of the Atlantic. Harbour porpoises still seem to be relatively abundant on the west coast of Spain judging from the incidence of strandings and by observations made at sea. A regression in the area of distribution of the species in the Bay of Biscay may also have taken place.