Maresme Canyons

Marine Stewardship is a voluntary strategy that aims to foster responsibility among users of the marine environment, with responsible use of natural resources and the ecosystem. Implementing this strategy is a new tool to conserve cetaceans and has been accepted as a complement to protect habitats and endangered species.


A Marine Stewardship program was implemented in the marine area “Maresme Canyons” in Catalonia in 2009. The agreements reached with interested sectors (sailors, fishermen, scientists and local administration) and the data obtained helped to create a bio-political lobby to promote protection of this marine zone. This study combines analysis of the 271 cetacean sightings (2001-2015 period) with the study of the stomach content of Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) to apply an administration strategy. These data provided for relative density prediction maps.

With Risso’s dolphin, the relative density model showed a closer association between this specific species and submarine canyons. This discovery led to the “Grampus Project“. The results obtained from the Risso’s dolphin stomach content showed that their prey mainly comes from the continental shelf instead of the slope, suggesting possible interaction with trawling. These data were provided to include the Risso’s dolphin as a vulnerable species in the Spanish National Catalogue of Endangered Species.

General Objectives:

  • To involve the different sectors related to the area of study and conservation of cetaceans in the zone (citizen science).
  • To promote participation and collaboration in the conservation area.
  • To carry out conservation and outreach actions, to foster the participation of municipal institutions in protecting the area through marine stewardship’s strategic lines.

The results that were obtained:

  • The zone is important for the Risso’s dolphin and other cetacean species (now included in the IMMA).
  • Marine Stewardship is an alternative way to carry out initiatives to cover legal loopholes to protect certain species in the EU (as occurs with the Risso’s dolphin).
  • Society is involved in conserving marine ecosystems.
  • Social participation in MPA monitoring through agreements with interested sectors.

This project was funded by the Autonomous Government of Catalonia and with the support of Fundación Biodiversidad.