Marine Mammals of Turkey

179,000 ₺ awarded

Status: ON-GOING

Project duration: December 2022 – August 2023


The issue 

Despite the significant presence of both coastal and deep-diving cetaceans in the Turkish waters, the absent interest of stakeholders and lack of public consciousness, intensify the negative impacts on these threatened species. This project builds a bridge between research and stakeholders and follows a multidisciplinary bottom-up conservation approach for a collective goal on marine protection.


The solution

This project focuses on the effective conservation and protection of cetaceans in the coastal protected area of Kaş and Kekova, and the unique deep-sea habitats of Finike Sea mounts Special Environmental Protection Area. The project aims to build a communication network between civil society and related stakeholders, enhance the public awareness on the cetaceans which are present right on their doorstop, and increase scientific knowledge both through dedicated research effort and workshops that train local researchers. Through the unification of these activities, we will raise awareness of the cetacean populations found within these protected areas and provide the conservation and mitigation actions they require.



  • Continuous social media and press releases

Production of a short documentary video about cetaceans to enhance the interest of civil societies, stakeholders, management bodies.

  • Need assessment report

Drafting of an assessment report to guide future projects and share insights with other institutes to suggest successful and unsuccessful approaches.

  • Increased scientific knowledge of cetaceans within the selected protected area zones

Ongoing survey efforts, utilising both acoustic and visual survey techniques, will be conducted to collect additional data. The data will then be presented on local, regional and international platforms, published in peer-reviewed journals and form the fuel for in-situ and rightly designed conservation strategies for the protected areas.

  • Mitigation strategies guide

A guide will be produced for the selected MPAs that includes the critical habitats of cetaceans and the threat assessment with the recommended mitigation strategies. This will be disseminated to the management bodies of the protected area.

  • Increased local research capacities through comprehensive workshops

Workshops will be organized to enhance the local capacities, prioritizing the female students/early career researchers. The workshops will not only teach theoretical knowledge but also practical skills. Through these workshops, we aim to encourage other similar projects to be founded in Turkey.



Using research to influence conservation and management strategies, with a bottom-up approach, the project aims to raise the general public knowledge and sensitivity on cetaceans. Additionally, scientific knowledge is the only way for effective and in-situ conservation strategies to successfully carry protected areas beyond just “paper parks”. The data will back up the conservation and mitigation success and prove that the protective actions are working.  The current project will create a marine protection approach where the scientists, civil societies, and management bodies work side by side for a joint goal. The project also underlines the significant role of local effort in marine protection and improve this.


About the organization

DMAD-Marine Mammals Research Association

DMAD-Marine Mammals Research Association was established in 2015, with the mission of bridging the existing knowledge gaps on cetaceans, while enhancing the local research capacities of Turkey. The additional aim of DMAD is to develop mutually respectful relationships with stakeholders for in-situ conservation actions on cetaceans, a problem that has been long missing in Turkey. DMAD works to raise ecological awareness and use research and knowledge to generate these management skills for a healthy marine ecosystem.