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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020 / Strandingen en waarnemingen van zeezoogdieren en opmerkelijke andere soorten in België in 2019 [Strandings and sightings of marine mammals and remarkable other species in Belgium in 2019]

J. Haelters, F. Kerckhof, K. Moreau, Bob Rumes, Team Sealife, T. Jauniaux and P. Cornillie (2020)

Strandingen en waarnemingen van zeezoogdieren en opmerkelijke andere soorten in België in 2019 [Strandings and sightings of marine mammals and remarkable other species in Belgium in 2019]

Booklet, Institute Report.

In 2019 51 harbour porpoises washed ashore: a low number compared to previous years. More than half of these animals were in a poor state of conservation, and for many no cause of death could be identified. Four harbour porpoises died due to bycatch in fishing gear, four others as a result of predation by a grey seal. The estimated density of porpoises at sea in June and August was approximately the average of the last years. The only other cetacean that was found stranded was a very decomposed common dolphin. As was the case last year, a solitary, sociable bottlenose dolphin was present for months in the region adjacent to French waters. Groups of bottlenose dolphins were observed on two occasions. More exceptional were the sightings of a humpback whale and a minke whale. The presence of seals at our coast is still on the rise. In the port of Nieuwpoort a permanent haulout site has established; it is frequently used by more than 10 harbour seals. Also sighting rates of grey seals are increasing. The increased presence of seals translates into increasing numbers of dead and dying seals on the beach: 47, the highest number ever recorded. SeaLife took care of 11 grey seals and 15 harbour seals. Two leatherback turtles and some ocean sunfish were observed in 2019. Their presence might have been related to an unusual influx of Atlantic water. For a stranded ocean sunfish, it is still being investigated which species it belonged to. Marine mammals remain very popular: some temporary or permanent exhibitions were opened in 2019, and the skeleton of a sperm whale that washed ashore in 1989 was excavated with the objective to preserve it and to put it on display.
Popular Science, PDF available
marine mammal
http://www.marinemammals.be/static-file/report_marinemammals_2019_NLBE.pdf
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