Journal of Cetacean Research and Management (2004)


Stranded harbour porpoises were analysed to investigate differences in stranding patterns along the North and Baltic Sea coasts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. A total of 1,015 stranded or bycaught harbour porpoises were recorded between 1990-2000. Most of the stranded animals were found during the summer months: in the North Sea, the peak occurred in the months of June and July, whereas in the Baltic most of the porpoises were found in July and August. Strandings of mature females (>3.9 years) and young animals (<1 year) were positively correlated during the summer months. No significant correlation between mature males and young porpoises nor between mature males and females was observed. By using a non-parametric procedure, a birth period for the North Sea population between 6 June and 16 July was calculated, with 27 June as the mean date of birth. In the Kiel Bight population, births were assumed to take place one month later than in the North Sea.