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News 26 May 15

Montenegrins Battle to Save Endangered Dolphins

A group of Montenegrin scientists are battling to protect the habitat of dolphins in the Albanian part of the Adriatic Sea, warning that the species is vanishing at an alarming rate.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

Scientists of the Institute of Marine Biology and the University of Montenegro on Monday launched a research project to identify the number and types of dolphin in the Albanian part of the Adriatic,  in order to try and preserve one of the most endangered spieces in the region.

The research mission in the territorial waters of Albania and on the southernmost part of the Adriatic Sea on the border with Montenegro has been organized within the framework of the International Net Set program and will last a month.

A group of five scientists will research the number and species of dolphins and their migration patterns in Albanian waters.

"These species are the most threatened by man-made activities in the Adriatic Sea in the last 50 years," the head of the Marine Institute, Mirko Djurovic said.

Reports on nature conservation in Montenegro say the maritime border between Montenegro and Albania are home to a rich variety of marine fauna, including four species of dolphin.

The common bottlenose dolphin is the most frequently seen dolphin. Several species of whale are also occasional visitors to the waters.

Once a common species in the Adriatic, the common dolphin has experienced a generalized major decrease in this region during the last few decades.

In past times it was widely considered a pest for destroying fishermen’s nets, which is why many were killed deliberately. Now it risks disappearing from the Adriatic and is on the Red List of Threatened Species for the Adriatic.

These days, governments are more friendly to the dolphin. All marine mammals living in the Adriatic or which visit these waters come under the protection of both Montenegrin and Albanian law. 

Deliberately disturbing, catching, keeping, injuring or killing these marine mammals is now a crime, punishable by local laws with high penalties.

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