100 Stranded Marine Mammals in Belgium in 2015

Report marine mammals 2015
13/10/2016
100 Stranded Marine Mammals in Belgium in 2015
post by
Sigrid Maebe

During the last decennia we have been confronted with many strandings of marine mammals. Mostly these concern harbour porpoises or seals, and in very rare cases a larger cetacean. Almost 100 marine mammals stranded on our beaches in 2015. Our scientists have put together this information on stranded cetaceans in Belgium in a brochure.

Marine mammals are legally protected. Given that they are top predators, the examination of their health status and causes of death (a commitment made in international fora) can provide us with a lot of information on the state of the marine environment. The main cause of the high stranding rate lies in the increasing population or in their displacement.

In 2015, relatively few strandings of harbour porpoises (only 52) were reported. Bycatch and predation by grey seals were important causes of death. Sea Life Blankenberge took care of 19 seals, and 26 dead or dying seals have been reported from beaches and ports. We also investigated a common fin whale which was brought into port on the prow of a vessel. The collision probably took place in the Bay of Biskay.

We would like to thank everybody who cooperated to this research, including volunteers and local authorities!

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