The feasibility of tagging harbour porpoises in Dutch waters

Scheidat, M.; Bos, O.G.; Geelhoed, S.C.V.


The tagging of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocosena) with satellite-linked locators or time-depth recorders allows researchers to obtain data on the behaviour and ecology of this species. It is also a valuable tool to investigate the impact of human activities on individuals and a number of recent publications have highlighted that for porpoises in Dutch waters this knowledge is still scarce. However, tagging also impacts the animals. In this report we are providing: 1) an overview of the technical status and the different types of tags, 2) how tags have been used in other areas on porpoises, 3) how tags can be attached to porpoises, 4) how porpoises can be obtained for tagging, and 5) what the legal framework for tagging in the Netherlands is. Finally we discuss relevant research questions and their relationship with current and future projects in The Netherlands and propose suitable pilot studies that take the results of this review into account.