Aquatic Mammals (1988)


Information on the harbour porpoise in Polish waters is reviewed and a corrected and updated list of catches, strandings and sightings given. The number of records per year has changed greatly from some hundreds, reported mainly from salmon drift net entanglements under a bounty scheme in the inter-War years, to an average of less than one encounter a year since the War. However, with the ending of the bounty, changes in fishing methods and the lack of a systematic recording scheme since the Second World War, these records may not reflect accurately the history of the porpoise population in this area.

Anecdotal evidence, mainly derived from recent enquiries in coastal areas does, however, confirm that there are far fewer porpoises today than there were in the inter-War years. There is also a suggestion in the older literature of a population reduction between the 1850’s and 1880’s, with some recovery by the 1920’s.

Systematic studies are required to establish the current status of this mammal, which is now legally protected, in Polish waters, and to define and remedy any problems which may be adversely affecting the population.