Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

of Harbour porpoises

Cetaceans is either monitored by a line transect from plain or boat (Telemetry and tagging), by Acoustic Monitoring or by the use of Satellite Tagging

16 Harbour porpoise hot spots

Surveillance, monitoring and conservation

16 harbour porpoise hot spot areas
16 harbour porpoise area - click to enlarge
Using the linetransect method to count whales from a boat
Photo by Line A. Kyhn

Harbour Porpoises is distributed in all the waters of Denmark, but is often at a higher density in these 16 Hot spot areas. These hot spot areas offers the perfect conditions for attracting a great number of porpoises. These conditions include top feeding grounds, and the constant pressens and great quality of prey. These hot spot areas is marked by number, on the map. The green colour point out the areas that has been classified by The Danish Nature Agency as protected habitats for Harbour porpoises. The 16 areas have been pointed out based on many years of investigation and research:

1) Northern part og Little Belt, 2) Southern part of Little Belt, 3) Southern part of Samsoe Belt, 4) Northerne part of Samsoe Belt, 5) Northerne part of Oresund, 6) St. Middelgrund, 7) Kalundborg Fjord, 8) The Great Belt 9) Smålandsfarvandet, 10) Flensborg Fjord, 11) Femern Belt 12) Kadetrenden, 13) Jyllands spids, 14) Skagerrak (Along the Norwegian trench), 15) Horns Rev, 16) The German Bight.

In Denmark, the harbour porpoise is protected by international agreements, in which Denmark is a part of, for example: The Bonn Convention, The Bern Convention, ASCOBANS and HELCOM. Their habitat areas are also protected by the Danish Nature Agency, and is in a national surveillance program called NOVANA. The data from NOVANA surveys are published every year.


SCANS (Small Ceteceans in the European Atlantic and North Sea) is a European project, which covers the cetacean counts in the Northeast Atlantic Sea region. The first SCAN was conducted in 1994, then agin in 2005, and the third SCAN was in 2016, were Aarhus University took on the Danish part of the survey. To read more about this project, go to the SCANS-III project homepage