Phocoena phocoena

Range & Status

The Harbour Porpoise occurs more or less throughout temperate and subarctic waters in the Northern Hemisphere, with some groups seeming to maintain home ranges. They are the only member of the porpoise family found living in European waters (WDCS, 2008). According to the Natural History Museum, analyses of age and body-length data from harbour porpoises stranding in south-west England (thought to be from the Celtic Sea stock) indicate that they have significantly greater body lengths compared to Harbour Porpoises from other UK regions. This suggests that there are at least two separate stocks in UK waters. There is some evidence of a decline in numbers of Harbour Porpoise in UK waters since the 1940s, especially in the southern North Sea and English Channel. The conservation status of the species around the whole UK coast is unknown, but the recent ' SCANS' survey of small cetaceans in the North Sea, Channel and Celtic Sea indicated the population in those waters was approximately 350,000. (UK Biodiversity Group, 1999.)

Strandings

Strandings were recorded in the region in the following years: 1913 (2), 1914 (1), 1921 (1), 1923 (1), 1924 (3), 1927 (2), 1930 (1), 1931 (4), 1932 (3), 1934 (2), 1935 (1), 1936 (1), 1945 (1), 1946 (1), 1949 (1), 1953 (1), 1957 (1), 1960 (1), 1963 (1), 1965 (1), 1973 (2), 1974 (2), 1976 (1), 1978 (2), 1980 (1), 1982 (3), 1983 (3), 1984 (2), 1985 (1), 1986 (3), 1987 (2), 1988 (1), 1989 (4), 1990 (8), 1991 (7), 1992 (8), 1993 (5), 1994 (7), 1995 (4), 1996 (10) 1997 (16) 1998 (18)., 1999 (12), 2000 (19), 2001 (24), 2002 (67), 2003 (38), 2004 (114), 2005 (38), 2006 (40), 2007 (25), 2008 (18).

Sightings

Numerous sightings every year between 1994 and 2007.

Conservation

The species is classed as of Least Concern (Hammond et al ., 2008b. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. . Downloaded on 18 March 2009.). It is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species.