The UK Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy
Aims and objectives
The strategy aims to ensure effective management to achieve and/or maintain favourable conservation status for eight of the most commonly found dolphin and porpoise species in UK waters. In addition, the minke whale was included as the ninth species in the strategy. These species have been selected because they occur predictably in UK waters and have similar characteristics and conservation needs. The collective name for all species of dolphins, porpoises and whales is cetaceans.
The strategy provides a summary of existing management measures and obligations which help to manage pressures on the nine species of dolphins, porpoises and minke whales.
The strategy seeks a joined-up approach to management, with both site and wider measures working together to conserve dolphin, porpoise and minke whale populations. It proposes a series of high-level actions to deliver these outcomes.
The strategy's purpose is to deliver and/or maintain favourable conservation status by:
- addressing existing and emerging pressures in the marine environment, with a view to conserving UK dolphin, porpoise and minke whale populations
- acknowledging where work is already planned or underway to meet conservation targets
- creating opportunities for sectoral collaboration
The strategy has the following objectives:
- identify vulnerabilities and the relevant pressures on the populations of the nine species of dolphins, porpoises and minke whales in UK waters
- identify current management measures and obligations and opportunities for improvement
- prioritise the management of key pressures that pose the greatest risk to achieving and or maintaining favourable conservation status
- initiate new actions, where necessary, to maintain or improve conservation status
- improve understanding of population status and trends
- raise public awareness and understanding of dolphin, porpoise and minke whale populations in UK waters
- bring together organisations to implement the actions
The strategy covers all UK waters, from the coast out to the extent of UK continental shelf (see Figure 1) and encompasses existing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Actions set out in the strategy are intended to support the development of any conservation measures, required across UK waters, and the achievement of site-based conservation objectives. As part of achieving and/or maintaining favourable conservation status across UK waters, the strategy recognises local/regional variations in populations and pressures where appropriate (Table 4, Technical Report).
The species covered by the strategy are listed in Table 1 below.
|Common name||Scientific name|
|Harbour porpoise||Phocoena phocoena|
|Common dolphin||Delphinus delphis|
|Atlantic white-sided dolphin||Lagenorhynchus acutus|
|Bottlenose dolphin||Tursiops truncatus|
|White-beaked dolphin||Lagenorhynchus albirostris|
|Risso's dolphin||Grampus griseus|
|Killer whale||Orcinus orca|
|Long-finned pilot whale||Globicephala melas|
|Minke whale||Balaenoptera acutorostrata|
In developing the strategy, the following guiding principles were applied:
- the strategy aims to achieve and/or maintain the favourable conservation status of populations through management informed by research and monitoring
- the strategy will achieve and or maintain favourable conservation outcomes for species either through delivery of direct practical measures or improved understanding through research
- the strategy will be implemented in partnership with stakeholders and will be reviewed regularly and updated to reflect changing priorities, new knowledge, and available resources - the existing valuable contribution from stakeholders is recognised and we will continue to develop opportunities for future collaborative delivery of the strategy actions
- existing commitments for dolphins, porpoises and minke whales will continue to be pursued - evidence collected under this strategy will contribute to delivery of those commitments
- appropriate standards and information systems will be used in data collection and management - this will include Quality Assurance (QA) measures and ensure discoverability and accessibility of data
- spend on achieving the actions resulting from the strategy should be balanced with other relevant programmes that may improve our understanding of population status and trends, and key pressures
- the actions proposed within the strategy should be integrated as far as possible with other activities to minimise resource requirements - we will work to achieve better co-ordination, share costs and avoid duplication where possible
The Technical Report
The Technical Report provides detail of the vulnerability and confidence assessments that have been undertaken. These provide the basis for determining whether new or improved action is required.
The assessments consider how vulnerable the species are to pressures and considers existing management measures in place. From this potential issues for each species can be identified and be taken into account when determining what actions should be taken forward.
This section identifies the actions considered necessary to:
- maintain or/and improve the conservation status of dolphins, porpoises and minke whales (management actions)
- help improve our understanding of the species, the issues that affect them and awareness raising (research, monitoring and communication actions)
The results of the technical report's existing management analysis identify where further action is necessary. These have been condensed into actions covering all of the species which should enable better delivery of management, research, monitoring and communication.
Tables 3 and 4 below list these actions, summarises the rationale for inclusion, and on implementation will identify the lead organisation responsible for taking forward the action. The scores referenced in the 'Rationale' column of Table 3 are detailed in the technical report. The Action Plan document has been developed to provide a more detailed description of the problem and the proposed steps to resolve it. Each action is displayed in an Action Sheet, which is based on the model used within OSPAR.
|Management Actions||Rationale||Project coordinator|
||The scores for activities within this action indicated varying levels of research and consideration of new management measures were required for all species.||Government and SNCBs|
||There is a need for more research on bycatch and in some instances, consideration of additional measures for species assigned a medium vulnerability to this pressure.||Government|
||There is a need for more research on entanglement and in some instances, consideration of additional measures for species assigned a medium vulnerability.||Government|
||Acoustic disturbance may result from numerous activities, from piling, to vessel noise and use of pingers. This action has been developed into three sections. The scores across the species indicate that further research is required, in some instances where there is no evidence of impact, but there is overlap of the species and pressure.||Government and SNCBs|
||Recreational and wildlife tourism has been highlighted for four species (common dolphin, coastal bottlenose dolphin, killer whale and minke whale) as requiring further research and to consider management measures.||SNCBs|
||Reduction in prey availability requires further research for all nine species and some consideration for management measures for medium vulnerability.||SNCBs|
||Given the research requirements stated above, developing a prioritisation framework will allow the division of work and dedication of resources to undertaken required projects. Additional tailored projects (e.g. to investigate mortality from ship strike) may be required.||SNCBs|
||Working in parallel to the prioritisation framework, a monitoring programme can continue to be developed that will support the management actions||Government and SNCBs|
||To keep stakeholders up to date, but also to enable data sharing with the working groups to assist in progressing the actions.||Government|
Next steps in the process
Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at https://consult.gov.scot/. If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.
Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.
Comments and complaints
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The Scottish Government Consultation Process
Consultation is an essential part of the policymaking process. It gives us the opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.
You can find all our consultations online: https://consult.gov.scot/. Each consultation details the issues under consideration, as well as a way for you to give us your views, either online, by email or by post.
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