Collisions with large ships are the number one threat to the fragile sperm whale population of just 200 in the Hellenic Trench (part of the eastern Mediterranean Sea) – responsible for as much as half of deaths of stranded whales. So we welcome the new official notice issued by the Greek navy, the direct outcome of longstanding efforts by WWF and partners, which warns mariners to look out for marine mammals and avoid a collision when travelling through the whales’ key habitat.
This is the first official step by Greece to protect marine mammals in this area. Studies show that minor changes to shipping traffic, such as avoiding hotspot areas and reducing speed, are simple low-cost solutions that can largely halt collisions. Working alongside our partners, we engage with the national authorities, the shipping sector and scientists in Greece and other areas to help find solutions that protect Mediterranean whales.