Size in Square Kilometres
4 313 km2
Qualifying Species and Criteria
Black Sea bottlenose dolphin – Tursiops truncatus ponticus
Criterion A, B(2), C(1, 2)
Black Sea common dolphin – Delphinus delphis ponticus
Criterion A, B(2), C(1, 2)
Black Sea harbour porpoise – Phocoena phocoena relicta
Criterion A, B(2), C(2)
Marine Mammal Diversity
Tursiops truncatus ponticus, Delphinus delphis ponticus, Phocoena phocoena relicta
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The Karkinit and Dzharylhach (Carılğaç) Gulfs separate the northwestern Crimean Peninsula from the northern Ukraine mainland, and include the coastal waters between Lazurne and the Tarkhankut Cape. The IMMA includes coastal waters at depths between 0 and 30 m. All three Black Sea cetacean species inhabit and feed in the area, common dolphin (Delphinus delphis ponticus), harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena relicta) and bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus ponticus). The IMMA is an important summer seasonal area for the local coastal populations of bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins which show strong site fidelity during at least several years, forming stable alliances and reproducing in the area; also, remarkably dense aggregations of harbour porpoises are seen there in summer.
Description of Qualifying Criteria
Criterion A – Species or Population Vulnerability
The Dzharylhach (Carılğaç) and Karkinit Gulfs in the north-western Black Sea are important seasonal habitat (all seasons except winter) for the three threatened Black Sea cetacean subspecies, the Endangered harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena relicta) and bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus ponticus) and the Vulnerable common dolphin (Delphinus delphis ponticus) (Birkun, 2002, 2012; Mikhalev, 2005, 2008; Birkun and Frantzis, 2008; Birkun et al., 2014). Moreover, the deeper south-western part of the area is inhabited by all three cetacean species during winter seasons as well (Agafonov et al., 1982). The harbour porpoise is particularly vulnerable in this area due to extensive bycatch in fishing gears in the Karkinit Gulf during its reproduction season in spring and summer (Pavel Gol’din, personal communication), and therefore it needs special protection in its breeding areas (Birkun, 2006a).
Criterion B: Distribution and Abundance
Sub-criterion B2: Aggregations
Cetaceans occur in the northern part of the IMMA area during the warm season and in the southern part of the area year-round (Bel’kovich, 1978, 1987; Birkun, 2006b; Gol’din et al., 2017). This is an area where during the warm season locally distributed groups of the Black Sea bottlenose dolphins and the Black Sea common dolphins have been recorded and there have been numerous photo identification recaptures of known individuals over at least 5 years, (Gladilina et al., unpubl.). The abundance of the local coastal population of bottlenose dolphins near the Dzharylhach Island is about 50 individuals; the group includes a few stable pairs and alliances of individuals, at least 12 individuals were resighted in 2016-2019 (Gladilina et al., 2017a). A few individuals show distinctive hunting, beaching and play behaviour (Gol’din et al., 2017). The abundance of common dolphins in the Dzharylhach Gulf is about 200 individuals, and at least 7 individuals were resighted between 2016 and 2019 years (Gladilina et al., 2017a,b; Gol’din et al. 2017; Gladilina et al., 2020; Gladilina et al., unpubl.). The density of the harbour porpoises in the Dzharylhach Gulf in summer reaches 1.5 specimens per square kilometre which is the highest density throughout the northern Black Sea and among the highest in the entire Black Sea (Gladilina et al., 2017a).
Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities
Sub-criterion C1: Reproductive Areas
The IMMA area is an important reproductive area for bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins with calves during the warm season. The bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins were observed with calves of all age categories (newborns, calves) and juveniles. During the 2016, 2017 summer seasons 27% groups of the bottlenose dolphins and 30% groups of the common dolphins were observed with calves and juveniles (Gladilina et al., 2017a; Gol’din et al., 2017; Gladilina, 2018). Also, mating behaviour was recorded for bottlenose dolphins in shallow waters near the Dzharylhach Island (Gladilina and Gol’din, personal communication).
Sub-criterion C2: Feeding Areas
This area has a high concentration of migratory fish, e.g. horse mackerel and sand smelt that are important prey species for common dolphins and harbour porpoises, mullets, garfish, an important prey of bottlenose dolphins. The main behavioural type observed for all cetaceans in the area was foraging (Bel’kovich, 1978, 1987; Gol’din et al., 2017; Gladilina, 2018). Sand smelts (Atherina sp.), the horse mackerel (Trachurus mediterraneus) and the garfish (Belone belone) were directly identified as prey objects of the common dolphins during boat surveys in the Dzharylhach Gulf in summer 2016 and 2017 (Gol’din et al., 2017). Different mullets (Mugilidae) are very important feeding objects for bottlenose dolphins according to the boats surveys and coastal observations from different years (Bel’kovich, 1978, 1987; Birkun, 2006b; Gol’din et al., 2017).
Agafonov, A.V., Bel’kovich, V. M., Deulin, V. B., Kozarovitskiy, L. B., Moskvina-Tarkhanova, I. A., Safronov, O. V. and Kharitonov, S. P. 1982. ‘Some aspects of the seasonal dynamics of dolphin appearance in the coastal waters of the northwestern Crimea’. Study, protection and rational use of marine mammals: Abstracts of reports of the 8th All-Union meeting, Astrakhan:4-6 [In Russian].
Bel’kovich, V.M. 1978. Behaviour and bioacoustics of dolphins. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology AS USSR, Moscow. 199 pp.
Bel’kovich, V.M. 1987. Behaviour and bioacoustics of dolphins. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology AS USSR, Moscow. 220 pp.
Birkun, Jr, A. 2002. The current status of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Black Sea. In Report of the first meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS). Document AC18-Inf. 2. 25 pp.
Birkun, Jr., A.A. (comp.). 2006a. Conservation Plan for Black Sea Cetaceans. ACCOBAMS and Black Sea Commission. 50 pp.
Birkun, A.A. 2006b. Cetaceans. North-West Part of The Black Sea: Biology And Ecology, Naukova Dumka:314-332 [In Russian].
Birkun, Jr., A.A. and Frantzis, A. 2008. Phocoena phocoena ssp. relicta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T17030A6737111. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T17030A6737111.en.
Birkun, A. 2012. Tursiops truncatus ssp. ponticus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T133714A17771698. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012.RLTS.T133714A17771698.en.
Birkun, Jr., A., Northridge, S.P., Willsteed, E.A., James, F.A., Kilgour, C., Lander, M. and Fitzgerald, G.D. 2014. Studies for carrying out the common fisheries policy: adverse fisheries impacts on cetacean populations in the Black Sea. Final report to the European Commission, Brussels, 347p.
Gladilina, O.V. 2018. The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in the waters of the northern Black Sea: biology and population structure. Dissertation submitted for the completion of the degree of Candidate of Sciences in Biology, qualification 03.00.08, zoology. Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Kyiv. 215 p.
Gladilina, E.V., Vishnyakova, K.A., Neprokin, O.O., Ivanchikova, Yu.F., Derkacheva, T.A., Kryukova, A.A., Savenko, O.V. and Gol’din, P.E. 2017a. ‘Linear transect surveys of abundance and density of cetaceans in the area near the Dzharylgach Island in the north-western Black Sea’. Vestnik zoologii, 51(4):335-342. DOI 10.1515/vzoo-2017-0038.
Gladilina, E., Savenko, O., Gol’din, P., Vishnyakova, K. and Neprokin, O. 2017b. Data on cetacean occurrence collected during the project “Identification and initial assessment of cetacean groupings in coastal waters of the north-western Black Sea, Ukrainian sector” funded by ACCOBAMS 2016-2017. Version 1.3. Ukrainian Scientific Centre of Ecology of the Sea (UkrSCES). Dataset/Occurrence. http://gp.sea.gov.ua:8082/ipt/resource?r=accobams_2016-2017&v=1.0 http://www.iobis.org/explore/#/dataset/4717
Gladilina, E., Vishnyakova, K., Ivanchikova, Ju., Neprokin, O. and Gol’din, P. 2020. EU-UNDP Project – Improving Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea – Selected Measures (EMBLAS-Plus). Cetaceans (Photo-ID). Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP (http://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/2129) on yyyy-mm-dd.
Gladilina E., Vishnyakova K., Ivanchikova Ju., Neprokin O. and Gol’din P. (unpubl.). National Monitoring Survey NMS Ukraine – Cetaceans. 2020. EU-UNDP Project ‘Improving Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea – Selected Measures (EMBLAS-Plus). Final report.
Gol’din, P., Gladilina, E., Savenko, O., Vishnyakova, K., Neprokin, O. and Ivchenko, Ye. 2017. Identification and initial assessment of cetacean groupings in coastal waters of the north-western Black Sea, Ukrainian sector (final report). MoU ACCOBAMS N° 09/2016/FAC, 100 p.
Mikhalev, Yu.A. 2005. ‘The Peculiarities of the Distribution of the Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena relicta (Cetacea), in the Black Sea’. Vestnik Zoologii 39(6):25–35 [In Russian].