Evaluatation of the Conservation of the Harbour Porpoise Uk

The role of conservation and legislation in the protection of the Harbour Porpoise in the UK
Class | Mammalia |
Order | Cetacea |
Family | Phocoenidae |
Genus | Phocoena |
Species | Phocoena |

The Harbour Porpoise is the smallest cetacean found in the UK waters. They are around 1.5 meters in length and weigh up to 85kg. They have a round blunt nose and a small dorsal fin.   They are the most common porpoise and unlike most cetaceans they are found in coastal waters preferring to live on the continental sea shelf and are very shy creatures.   Harbour porpoises are found in cold temperate to sub-polar waters of the Northern Hemisphere (Gaskin 1992, Read 1999). There are seasonal concentrations of Harbour Porpoises off south-west and western Ireland, west Wales, the west coast of Scotland, Northern Isles, and eastern Scotland (Sea watch Foundation, Date Unknown). A 1994 survey of small cetaceans in the North Sea, English Channel and Celtic sea (SCANS) estimated the population of harbour porpoise to be around 350,000.   Figures have shown P.phocoena has become scarce in the southernmost North Sea, English Channel and Bay of Biscay for example (Evans, 2000).   Due to this decline a wide range of national, regional, European and International Legislation has been put into effect over a twenty year period to enable the prevention and recovery of marine biodiversity including Harbour Porpoise. On the ICUN list they are listed as least concern worldwide and are found in large populations in many countries yet in the UK Waters a decline through many threats have resulted in legislation and agreements forming to assist in the conservation of the Harbour Porpoise.

Threats faced by the Harbour Porpoise
By catch is reported to be the largest threat to the Harbour Porpoise due to Accidental capture in fishing nets Porpoises are taken incidentally in several different gear types (driftnets, pelagic trawls,etc.), but mostly in bottom-set gillnets (Read,...