A short video on the decline of coastal dolphins in the Mediterranean

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3 min 34 sec
Language: English; year: 2004


Technical information

Filmed between 2001 and 2003 with a Canon XM1 digital camcorder. Edited in 2004 using FinalCut Pro on a Macintosh computer. Short-beaked common dolphins, common bottlenose dolphins, fin whale, Mediterranean monk seal and loggerhead sea turtle were filmed in the coastal waters of western Greece. The dead common bottlenose dolphin hanging from a small trawler was photographed in 1992 in Veli Losinj, Croatia.



This video was produced by WDCS The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. OceanCare participated in the production and sponsored the filming equipment. The Tethys Research Institute offered additonal support. Final Cut Pro—the video editing software—was sponsored by Apple.

Silvia Bonizzoni, the main character in the video, provided support and suggestions. Stefano Agazzi, Joan Gonzalvo and Cristiana Miglio helped during the making of some scenes. Stefano also filmed the loggerhead sea turtle and the bottlenose dolphins shown at the end of the video. Randall R. Reeves provided suggestions to improve the narration. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara offered two photos of Mediterranean coastline taken in the island of Patmos, Greece, and in the bay of Ieranto near Capri, Italy. Chris Johnson and Mauro Bastianini offered technical support.



The Mediterranean Sea, a place where dolphins have always caught the human imagination. A natural paradise where seeing dolphins from the coast and encountering them at sea was a normal occurrence.

Here, dolphin images permeated artistic expression since ancient times.
But all this was going to change.

Thousands of dolphins were killed in the first half of the twentieth century, as human perception turned them from mythical animals to competitors for fisheries.

Large-scale killings eventually stopped, but dolphins did not recover.

Coastal dolphins were still relatively abundant in the 1960s, but 20 years later the scientists began to record the fist evidence of decline.

Today, coastal dolphins have become rare sights in many of the places where they used to swim in large schools.

Coastal dolphins feed on prey that has been severely overfished. Mediterranean fish stocks are now so depleted that dolphins no longer find easy food.

Incidental mortality in fishing gear represents another serious threat.

Contamination by man-made chemicals can have debilitating effects on their health and ability to reproduce successfully.

What can we do to try to solve these problems, what can we do to ensure a future for these animals and make the Mediterranean a better place? As individuals, we can do a lot.

Individual choices make a difference and all of us can do something. As consumers, we can influence the markets, buy responsibly and recycle. As voters, we can empower sensible politicians and support those who advocate sustainable fisheries and marine protected areas.

Indeed, we can join conservation organisations and get engaged, because coastal dolphins deserve a better future.

(Narrator: Giovanni Bearzi)