Tuesday, 21 February 2023
A preliminary report on the mass stranding of beaked whales on Cyprus shores was caused by acoustic trauma from military firing exercises, Kibris Postasi reports.
It had been speculated that they had been affected by the two catastrophic earthquakes which occurred on 6 February in Turkey.
Cuvier’s beaked whales are one of twelve species of whales and dolphins which are frequent visitors to the Mediterranean basin. The population of whales in the Mediterranean is estimated at about 6,000 and they are classified as an endangered species.
According to the report:
“Other than that, the secondary threat in the Mediterranean; These are the deaths resulting from hunting with drift nets and ingestion of macroplastics. There have been about 20 known mass death cases in the Mediterranean since 1963, the most recent one on the Greek island of Corfu in February last year and associated with the seismic survey in the region. However, the member countries of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceous Mammals living in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Contiguous Atlantic Region (ACCOBAMS) must abstain from conducting military exercises after or underwater explosions in the ‘Beaked Whales Special Areas’ determined in the Mediterranean in 2013 (Resolution 5.13). was deemed necessary.
“According to research and NAVTEX data obtained, it was discovered that the Russian Federation has planned military shooting exercises over wide areas to the east, south and west regions of the island in February.
As the death toll will increase, all countries, for precautionary purposes, should stop all planned/unplanned military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean and especially in the Finike Undersea Mountains Special Environmental Protection Area, a unique marine ecosystem that supports fragile habitats and vulnerable fauna and flora species”.