Натура 2000 - морска частTwo main approaches for conservation of cetaceans are adopted and applied:

     1. Legal protection of the species.
     2. Conservation of significant habitats for species by designation of marine protected areas.

On international level the cetaceans are protected by number of intergovernmental agreements. The entire order Cetacea is included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) from 1973. The three species of Black Sea cetaceans are included in Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) from 1979. The Black Sea Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops trunctatus ponticus) is included in Appendix I (endangered species) while all the Black Sea cetaceans are included in Appendix II (species with unfavorable conservation status) of the Convention on Migratory Species (Bonn convention) from 1979. Within the framework of the Convention in 1996 at Monaco was drafted the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contigous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS). Its purpose is to decrease the threats for the cetaceans and to increase the knowledge and awareness about these marine mammals. The Parliament of Republic of Bulgaria has ratified the Agreement in 1999 and it was empowered for our country on 01.06.2002. In 1992 the Convention on the protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (Bucharest Convention) was signed. Article 13 of the Convention addresses the protection of the living marine resources including the marine mammals.

Under the auspices of the Secretariat of ACCOBAMS and the Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission in the period 2005-2006 an international group of experts drew up: “Action plan on the conservation of the Black Sea cetaceans”. With decision 3.11.of the third meeting of the parties on the Agreement in October 2007 the same has been approved. The plan consists of 18 activities separated in 59 sub-activities categorized according to their importance: 26 are of paramount importance and the 33 are of secondary importance. In 2014 a revised version has been developed by team of experts appointed by ACCOBAMS.

The marine mammals are also protected under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning the exclusive economic zone (Article 65) and the open sea (Article 120). The harbor porpoise and the bottlenose dolphin are included in Appendix II (Species of community interest whose protection requires the designation of areas with special protection regime) while the common dolphin and all the cetaceans are included in Appendix IV (Species of community interest, which require strict protection) of the Directive 92/43/EEC of the EU on the conservation of natural habitats and of the wild flora and fauna. The Biological diversity act passed in 2002 in Bulgaria introduced the Directive 92/43/EEC into the national legislation. The harbor porpoise and the bottlenose dolphin are included in Appendices II and III of the Act and the common dolphin in Appendix III. The marine mammals are also protected under Bulgaria’s Fisheries and aquaculture law.

The approach for establishment of protected marine areas in Bulgaria is adopted together with the accession of the country into the EU, which requires the establishment of areas of the European ecological network NATURA 2000 in the country. At this point 14 SCIs (designated under the EU Habitats Directive) include in their conservation objectives cetaceans - bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise. These are: Aladzha banka (BG0001500), Aheloy – Ravda – Nesebar (BG0000574), Galata (BG0000103), Ezero Durankulak (BG0000154), Ezero Shabla-Ezerets (BG0000621), Emine – Irakli (BG0001004), Emona (BG0001501), Kamchia(BG0000116), Kompleks Kaliakra (BG0000573), Plazh Shkorpilovtsi (BG0000100), Plazh Gradina – Zlatna ribka (BG0000146), Ropotamo (BG0001001), Otmanli (BG0001502) and Strandzha (BG0001007).