Cetacean Bycatch

Cetacean bycatch is the incidental capture of non-target cetacean species by fisheries. Species which are seriously affected by this include dolphins, porpoises, and whales. Bycatch can be caused by entanglement in fishing nets and lines, or direct capture by hooks or in trawl nets.

Cetacean bycatch is increasing in intensity and frequency. This is a trend that is likely to continue because of increasing human population growth and demand for marine food sources, as well as industrialization of fisheries which are expanding into new areas. These fisheries come into direct and indirect contact with cetaceans. An example of direct contact is the physical contact of cetaceans with fishing nets. Indirect contact is through marine trophic pathways where fisheries are severely reducing fish stocks that cetaceans rely on for food. In some fisheries, cetaceans are captured as bycatch but then retained because of their value as food or bait. In this fashion, cetaceans can become a target of fisheries.

Read more about Cetacean BycatchBycatch Trends, Cetaceans At Risk

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