16/10/2017 – Sperm whale sighted off the coast of Garraf
Associació Cetàcea’s team documented a sighting of a sperm whale during the last cetacean sighting survey included in the Photo-Identification Project: Whales and dolphins along the Catalan coast, which aim is to study the cetacean communities frequenting the central Catalan coast. The 10 m long animal was swimming correctly and performing regular dives 20 miles off the coast of Garraf in an area in which waters were about 1,200 metres deep..
The sperm whale is the second largest cetacean of the Mediterranean and its population in this sea is currently endangered, mainly due to a drastic decrease in the last 20 years. This species is extremely vulnerable to underwater noise, marine debris and especially to interaction with fisheries, as they get entangle in fishing nets. Recent studies estimate that there is around 400 sperm whales living in the western basin of the Mediterranean Sea, especially frequenting areas such as the western and the north-western coasts of the Balearic Islands, the Ligurian Sea or the Strait of Gibraltar.
These aspects show the importance of sightings like this, which, even being isolated sightings, may help us to get a better understanding of the distribution of the species. It is indeed the first sighting of a sperm whale documented by Associació Cetàcea since the start of the Project Photo-Identification in 2014, which counts 44 sightings of up to 6 different species this season.
Sperm whale off the coast of Garraf
Video of the sperm whale sighted off the coast of Garraf and a group of bottlenose dolphins sighted later on the same day.