A storyline: Pelagos, a Cetaceans Sanctuary in the Mediterranean Sea

Drakou E, Himes-Cornell A, Pendleton L, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Insitut Universitaire Europeen de la Mer

This storyline aims at addressing the species distribution of cetaceans within the Mediterranean and the role of humans both as a driver of change that affects their population and as a recipient of the benefits generated from these species. The storyline is initially focusing on the Pelagos Sanctuary for marine mammals, but it will be extended to other areas significant for their cetacean populations within the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem (LME). The final goal of this research is to assess the direct and indirect benefits from whale watching tourism to humans. To do this, the UBO and the IOC-UNESCO teams, along with external partners (TETHYS Research Institute and the British Antarctic Survey), will collect high resolution remote sensing and in situ data to assess, model and map the distribution of cetacean populations and associated benefits to humans across the Sanctuary. The output of this work will be used by the management and research organisations active in the Sanctuary to better understand the human-nature dynamics and to understand which are the areas where greatest intervention or change in management practices is required.