Marine Mammals of the Arabian Seas

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

The Arabian Seas: Biodiversity, Environmental Challenges and Conservation Measures

Publication Date



The marine mammal fauna found in the waters surrounding the Arabian Peninsula includes 24 species belonging to two Orders: Cetartiodactyla (Bryde’s whale, blue whale, Omura’s whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, dwarf and possibly pygmy sperm whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale, Indo-Pacific common dolphin, pygmy killer whale, short-finned pilot whale, Risso’s dolphin, killer whale, melon-headed whale, false killer whale, Indian Ocean humpback dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, striped dolphin, spinner dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin, Indo-Pacific finless porpoise), and Sirenia (dugong). The knowledge of the conservation status of marine mammal populations in the Arabian seas region is still poor, due to the low density of local research and monitoring efforts, making it very difficult to compare the current condition of the region’s marine mammals with that of conspecifics from other parts of the world. Anthropogenic pressure factors impacting on Arabian seas marine mammals include noise produced by seismic exploration, disturbance from poorly regulated or unregulated whale or dolphin watching operations, disturbance from vessel traffic and connected noise, ship strikes, direct takes, bycatch in fishery operations, pollution, habitat degradation caused by coastal development, extensive overfishing and harmful algal blooms. The dearth of information about the ecology of marine mammals from the Arabian region results in our enduring inability to understand where conservation action is most urgent.

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Life Sciences