Long-term monitoring of marine mammal strandings reveals the importance of ship strike of large cetaceans along European coasts of France (1972-2017) and future challenges for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Submitted to Front. Mar. Sci.
HÃ©lÃ¨ne Peltier, Alain Beaufils, Catherine Cesarini, Willy Dabin, CÃ©cile Dars, Fabien Demaret, Frank Dhermain, Ghislain Doremus, HÃ©lÃ¨ne Labach, Olivier van Canneyt and JÃ©rÃ´me Spitz
We examined stranding data, including photography and necropsy reports, collected between 1972 and 2017 with the aim to provide a comprehensive review of confirmed collision records of large whales in France. During this period, a total of 51 ship strikes were identified which represents the first identified causes of mortality for large whale in France. It has increased since 1972 with 7 records during the first decade to reach 22 stranded animals observed between 2005 and 2017. This issue appears particularly critical in the Mediterranean Sea where one in five stranded whales showed evidence of ship strike. This review of collision records highlights the risk of a negative impact of this anthropogenic pressure on the dynamic of whale populations in Europe, suggesting that ship strike rates could not allow achieving the Good Environmental Status of marine mammal populations required by the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive.