Management, Conservation and Restoration
As apex predators, marine mammals exert an important top-down control and play a crucial role in the ecosystem functioning and shaping of the food-web in marine systems. Knowledge on the status of these top predators is imperative to have an idea on the status and health of the ecosystem and, as such, these predators are used as sentinels for monitoring aquatic ecosystem health. MARECO has broad experience studying marine mammal populations using aerial surveys, passive acoustic monitoring, and strandings analysis. MARECO advises the Belgian federal government on the monitoring and management of marine mammals in view of the main threats they are facing today which include climate change, bycatch, marine litter, and the increase in acoustic pollution.