Shipping routes through core habitat of endangered sperm whales along the Hellenic Trench, Greece: Can we reduce collision risks?
The Hellenic Trench is the core habitat of the eastern Mediterranean sperm whale sub-population that numbers
two to three hundred individuals. Major shipping routes running on or very close to the 1000
m depth contour along the Hellenic Trench are causing an unsustainable number of shipstrikes.
Routing options to significantly reduce ship strike risk by a small offshore shift in
shipping routes were identified. The overall collision risk for sperm whales in the study area
would be reduced by around 70%, while a maximum of 11 nautical miles would be added to
major routes and only around 5 nautical miles for the majority of ships.
with sperm whales.
A significant contribution to theoverall conservation status of the marine Natura2000 sites in the area and very important
population units of threatened species such as Cuvier’s beaked whales, monk seals and loggerhead
turtles would be achieved, by the reduction of shipping noise and reduced risk of
any oil spills reaching the coasts, which are also important touristic destinations in Greece.
Frantzis A, Leaper R, Alexiadou P, Prospathopoulos A, Lekkas D (2019) Shipping routes through core habitat of endangered sperm whales along the Hellenic Trench, Greece: Can we reduce collision risks? PLoS ONE 14(2):
e0212016. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. pone.0212016