Today we had the first survey in the waters surrounding Kalamos Island, a Natura 2000 area also know as Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago. Those of you familiar with our work in Western Greece already know that this area, a former hotspot for the endangered Mediterranean short-beaked common dolphin, has been heavily impacted by overfishing which has resulted on the collapse of local fish stocks leading to the almost complete disappearance of the species from the area because of prey depletion.
Well, we have good news for you. Today, as we left the port of Mytikas, we came across a group of three common dolphins! We spent two hours monitoring their movements, recording their behavior and doing photoidentification. Two of them resulted to be well-know individuals that were also seen in the area last year; one of them -Max- was identified for the first time in the area in 1994, while the third one had not have enough distinctive marks to allow its identification. We saw them occasionally socializing and doing surface feeding. We could not ask for a better start of the 2011 season in the Kalamos area.
The decision of continuing monitoring the beautiful waters of the Archipelago when we closed our former field base in the Island of Kalamos back in 2008 has proven to be the right decision. Our continued effort has showed that although the population of common dolphins has decreased dramatically, a few animals are still present and they likely roam across a much wider area, occasionally moving into their former wonderland.