Northern Coast and Islands of the Thracian Sea IMMA
5 441 km2
Qualifying Species and Criteria
Black Sea harbour porpoise – Phocoena phocoena relicta
Criterion A; C (1, 2)
Marine Mammal Diversity
Delphinus delphis, Tursiops truncatus,
Stenella coeruleoalba, Monachus monachus
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The northern coast areas and islands of the Thracian Sea contain important habitat for Endangered Black Sea harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena relicta), used for foraging between the coastline and the 100m isobath. Multiple observations of live specimens have been recorded in recent years.
Description of Qualifying Criteria
Criterion A – Species or Population Vulnerability
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the Black Sea subspecies of harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena relicta, as Endangered. Dedicated research effort and surveys have collected occasional sightings and strandings records in the area.
Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities
Sub-criterion C1: Reproductive Areas
A harbour porpoise calf was observed during a survey conducted in 2009, which indicates that calving and breeding likely takes place in the area, although direct observation of breeding behavior has not yet been recorded.
Sub-criterion C2: Feeding Areas
Stomach contents of stranded harbour porpoises in the area attest to the fact that the animals are feeding. Their diet mainly consists of Gobidae, followed by Clupeidae. Although important commercial fisheries species were found during diet analysis, in none of the stomachs investigated their presence was considered dominant on other species.
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