Study reveals bycatch risk for dolphins and porpoises in global small-scale fisheries

EurekAlert!

A new study by Newcastle University shows that the risk of dolphins and porpoises being caught in small-scale (artisanal) fisheries is highest in low- and middle-income regions around the tropics and sub-tropics.

Marine scientists assessed the risk posed by small-scale fisheries to all 72 species of toothed whales found throughout the world’s oceans. They found that this risk was highest in the Central Indo-Pacific, Temperate Northern Pacific, Temperate South America and the Western Indo-Pacific.

Publishing their findings in the journal Fish and Fisheries, the authors argue that addressing the bycatch risks posed by small-scale fisheries in the high-risk regions is especially challenging and must be considered a global priority for toothed whale conservation.

They warn that immediate management and conservation actions are required to reduce and ideally eliminate small-scale fisheries bycatch to prevent species extinctions.

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