Once one of the most abundant cetacean species in the Mediterranean Sea, common dolphins have declined throughout the region since the 1960s. The Ionian Dolphin Project aims to understand, through long-term monitoring, how the local dolphin communities interact with their environment and how human activities – particularly fisheries and pollution – may affect their conservation status. By deploying state-of-the-art techniques, the project contributes tools to 1) inform management action, 2) promote marine conservation in Greece, and 3) support conservation efforts in the wider Mediterranean region.
In 2003 the Mediterranean population was classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List. In 2006 they have been included in Appendix I and II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (Bonn Convention – CMS). The causes of their decline include prey depletion by overfishing and incidental mortality in fishing gear