Three different species of dolphin exists in Istanbul Strait; bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena).

Bottlenose Dolphin

Common Dolphin

Harbour Porpoise

If you watch the Strait carefully, you may be able to see them.

11 species of marine mammals live in Turkey: fin whale, sperm whale, Grampus, Stenella, false killer whale, monk seal, long finned pilot whale and Cuvier’s beaked whale. But the reality is even though there are many whales and dolphins in our water, our knowledge of cetaceans is limited. The natural habitat of cetaceans has been destroyed from the anthropogenic activities and their survival is on the line due to the bycatch, marine pollution, overfishing, etc.

It is estimated that bycatch causes 3 thousand dolphins to drown and get stranded in Black Sea. In 2003, a survey was conducted for three months (April, May and June), covering a 45 km beach of the West Black Sea and 177 dolphins were found stranded. Studies were conducted on the effects of marine pollution on cetaceans and according to the studies on harbor porpoises, there is a high level of chemical pollutants in them. Common dolphins of Mediterranean are listed as endangered in the IUCN since 2003. Marine mammal hunting has been prohibited in Turkey since 1983. These animals are under protection by national (fishery code, 1380) and international laws (Barcelona Convention). Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) has been conducting scientific studies on the population number, distribution and biology of cetaceans since 1993. For the aim of protecting those species, especially in the Marmara Sea and Istanbul Strait, a research project, named “Street Boys of Istanbul Strait”, has been undertaken by TUDAV. In Istanbul Strait, dolphin abundance increases during the fish migration especially in the spring and autumn season. In this period, dolphin movements have been watched from the shore or from the boat. Photo-id studies were done during the surveys. By those photo-id studies, we tried to identify the resident and migrant groups.

You can contribute to our project by identifying the species correctly and filling this form!

The concept of the project:

• To identify the species, population number, distribution and habitats of dolphins in relation to seasons;

• To identify the migrants and resident populations;

• To determine the population structures and individuals (photo-id);

• To identify the threats on dolphins and come up with possible solutions;

• To establish a network that covers the coastal areas for the aim of gathering knowledge on stranded or live animals;

• To cooperate with related organizations for the conservation of dolphins;

• To coordinate educational programs for raising public awareness;

• To create the necessary technical backgrounds which are mentioned in ACCOBAMS, Barcelona, Bern and Bucharest convention;

• To contribute to the studies on protecting marine biodiversity.

Our studies will continue with your contributions and support and all of those studies, with the help of your sensitivity to the subject, become more effective and productive. We would love for you to join us and help us protect our seas.

You can watch the videos on Street Boys of the Bosphorus from the video section.