Fishery by-catches of marine mammals in Galician waters: results from on-board observations and an interview survey of fishermen

A. Lopez, Graham John Pierce, Maria Begona Santos Vazquez, J. Gracia, A. Guerra

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99 Citations (Scopus)


Rates of cetacean by-catch were investigated in Galician waters (NW Spain) using a combination of observer trips on fishing vessels, a carcase recovery scheme and an interview survey of fishermen, carried out over two years (1998-1999). All these data sources are suspected of underestimating by-catch due to the sample of co-operating fishermen being, necessarily, self-selecting. No by-catches were seen during observer trips, although not all sectors of the fishery could be covered. The carcass recovery scheme yielded seventeen cetacean carcases over two years, which compares to around 35 by-caught cetaceans recorded annually by the Galician strandinas network. Analysis of interview data suggested that around 200 cetaceans might be caught annually in inshore waters and around 1500 in offshore waters. Confidence limits were wide for all estimates. The highest by-catch rates were estimated for gillnets and offshore trawling. The majority of by-catches are small dolphins, probably mainly Delphinus delphis. Smaller numbers of Tursiops truncatus and Globicephala melas are also reported. Comparing the interview estimates of by-catch rates with minimum estimates of population size, it is suggested that by-catches of D. delphis and T. truncatus may be unsustainably high and that routine monitoring of fishery by-catches in Galician fisheries is required. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-40
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2003
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • fishery by-catch
  • cetaceans
  • Delphinus delphis
  • Tursiops truncates
  • Phocoena phocoena
  • Galicia (NW spain)
  • porpoise Phocoena-phocoena
  • incidental catches
  • sea


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