JOHN HARWOOD* NERC Sea Mammal Research Unit, Gatty Marine Laboratory, Uni6ersity of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, UK KEY WORDS: small cetaceans; by-catch; risk assessment; incidental mortality INTRODUCTION The ecological problems caused by the by-catch of dolphins (mostly Stenella spp.) by the purse seine fishery for yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in the eastern Pacific Ocean are well known. A combination of management actions has reduced this by-catch from about 350000 animals during the 1960s to less than 4000 in 1993 (Joseph, 1994). However, many other fisheries also have a significant by-catch of marine mammals. For example, many thousands of small cetaceans of a wide range of species are by-caught annually in gill nets (Perrin et al., 1994). There is considerable concern about the effect that such by-catches may be having on the status of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the North Sea and adjacent waters (Anon., 1996). The number of porpoises stranded around the southern North Sea (Smeenk, 1987) and incidental sightings in coastal waters (Verwey and Wolff, 1981) have declined substantially since the 1950s. Although the reasons for this decline are not well understood, several recent studies (Berggren, 1994; Vinther, 1995; Tregenza et al., 1997) have
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 1999
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