Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

of Harbour porpoises

Cetaceans are either monitored by a line transect from plane 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 are distributed in all the waters of Denmark, but are often at a higher density in these 16 hot spot areas. These hot spot areas offer the perfect conditions for attracting a great number of porpoises. These conditions include top feeding grounds and the constant presence and great quality of prey. These hot spot areas are marked by number on the map. The green colour points out the areas that have 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 of Little Belt, 2) Southern part of Little Belt, 3) Southern part of Samsoe Belt, 4) Northern part of Samsoe Belt, 5) Northern 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 participates, e.g.: The Bonn Convention, The Bern Convention, ASCOBANS and HELCOM. Harbour porpoise habitat areas are also protected by the Danish Nature Agency and are included 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