Protection of mammals and seabirds – continuation
The Hel Station is the only institution on the Polish Coast that can effectively monitor and rehabilitate marine mammals. With this background Hel Station and WWF Poland have for many years worked together successfully on seal protection, as increasing population numbers seem to prove. However, last year showed growing mortality and problems with tourism and fisheries are rising. Therefore the partners seek to continue their activities for the protection of marine mammals and applied to the Polish Operational Programme Environment and Infrastructure for this reason, this time the protection of sea birds is also included through cooperation with a third partner, the Kuling Organisation, that is mainly active in the Vistula lagoon.
Key activities of the Hel Station will help to reduce pressure on marine mammals including work with fishermen to apply alternative gear to reduce bycatch.
Situation and background
The work will cover the whole Polish coastline as Hel Station is the authorised body to collect dead animals along the coast. However, cooperation with fishermen will be concentrated on the Gdansk bay and surroundings, where Hel Station is known and accepted as institution. One of the key problems is the bycatch of marine mammals that will be addressed during the project implementation. Rates of bycatch are still unknown and growing problems with stranded seals need further analysis.
Project activities and effects
- to protect mammals and seabirds and their habitats from anthropogenic threats
- Rehabilitate sick or injured seals and release them to natural environment linked to continuous monitoring
- Limit mortality of birds and mammals by developing and applying alternative fishing gears
- Reduce disturbance of seals and seabirds from human activities, mainly in the Vistula lagoon (presence of guards, video monitoring of an important resting place)
- Increase acceptance and public awareness through education and information>