An observer from the Regional Directorate for Maritime Affairs (DRAM), an associated beneficiary of LIFE IP AZORES NATURA project, started a program to monitor marine biodiversity on Atlânticoline’s ships at the beginning of August.
In order to carry out this program, DRAM contacted the Instituto do Mar (IMAR) to train the observer, because this entity has been coordinating, since 1998, the Observation Program for Fisheries in the Azores (POPA).
The most frequently sighted species were small dolphins and shearwater (Calonectris borealis), and a group of beaked whales (Mesoplodon sp.) was also seen jumping near the bow of Gilberto Mariano, as well as a group of whales -tropical pilot (Globicephala macrorhynchus).
The information collected will make it possible to map the presence of cetaceans, turtles and sea birds, along the Atlânticoline routes through the islands of the Central Group. Together with other monitoring programs that are currently taking place, the data now collected will allow for a deeper understanding of the species that pass through the Azores sea and the way they use the routes taken by passenger transport ships.
This concrete pilot action of LIFE IP AZORES NATURA, which runs until the end of this year, is part of the marine component of the project, which is financed in four million euros, being operated by DRAM. Once this first phase is completed, the possibility of continuing this program until 2027 will be evaluated. For now, the preliminary results are promising!