Dear All,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following chapter:

Esteban, R., Verborgh, P., Gauffier, P., Alarcón, D., Salazar-Sierra, J.M.,
Giménez, J., Foote, A.D. and de Stephanis, R., 2016. Conservation Status of
Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, in the Strait of Gibraltar. *Advances in
Marine Biology*.


Killer whales (*Orcinus orca*) in the Mediterranean Sea are currently
restricted to the Strait of Gibraltar and surrounding waters. Thirty-nine
individuals were present in 2011, with a well-differentiated social
structure, organized into five pods. Killer whale occurrence in the Strait
is apparently related to the migration of their main prey, Atlantic bluefin
tuna (*Thunnus thynnus*). In spring, whale distribution was restricted to
shallow waters off the western coast of the Strait where all pods were
observed actively hunting tuna. In summer, the whales were observed in the
shallow central waters of the Strait. A relatively new feeding strategy has
been observed among two of the five pods. These two pods interact with an
artisanal drop-line fishery. Pods depredating the fishery had access to
larger tuna in comparison with pods that were actively hunting. The Strait
of Gibraltar killer whales are socially and ecologically different from
individuals in the Canary Islands. Molecular genetic research has indicated
that there is little or no female-mediated gene migration between these
areas. Conservation threats include small population size, prey depletion,
vessel traffic, and contaminants. We propose the declaration of the Strait
of Gibraltar killer whales as an endangered subpopulation. A conservation
plan to protect the Strait of Gibraltar killer whales is urgently needed,
and we recommend implementation of a seasonal management area where
activities producing underwater noise are restricted, and the promotion of
bluefin tuna conservation.

A copy can be downloaded at:

Kind Regards,

Ruth Esteban

Ruth Esteban, PhD.
CIRCE (Conservation Information and Research on Cetaceans)
C/Cabeza de Manzaneda 3
C.P. Pelayo-Algeciras (Cádiz) Spain
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