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Brazilian Journal of Oceanography

On-line version ISSN 1982-436X


NEGRI, María Fernanda; DENUNCIO, Pablo; PANEBIANCO, María Victoria  and  CAPPOZZO, Humberto Luis. Bycatch of franciscana dolphins Pontoporia blainvillei and the dynamic of artisanal fisheries in the species' southernmost area of distribution. Braz. j. oceanogr. [online]. 2012, vol.60, n.2, pp.149-158. ISSN 1982-436X.

In Argentina, the franciscana dolphin is one of the most vulnerable cetaceans regularly entangled in coastal artisanal fishery nets. The aim of this paper is to estimate the species' incidental mortality on the Southern coast of Buenos Aires province through interviews with the captains of artisanal fishing vessels, in the period 2006-2009. Franciscana bycatch was reported for gillnets and shrimper gear all year round but it occurred more frequently between October and February, at 5 km offshore and 10-20 m depth. The estimated mean annual incidental mortality was 107 dolphins (CI 95% = 87-129), 92 caught in gillnets (CI 95% = 73-112) and 15 in shrimpers' gear (CI 95% = 8-25) with a capture per unit effort of 0.029 dolphins per km of gillnet (CI 95% = 0.023-0.036) and 0.022 per shrimpe r's net (CI 95% = 0.012-0.035). Annual fluctuations were due to differences in the number of gillnetting fishing days. If mortality estimates for the Northern coast are also taken into account, values attain a maximum of 360-539 dolphins bycaught in the entire Buenos Aires province, representing 2.5-3.7% of the species' abundance in Argentina. This will inevitably lead to the decline of franciscana dolphin populations in the near future unless alternative fishing grounds are identified and alternative gearadopted.

Keywords : Franciscana dolphin; Pontoporia blainvillei; Incidental mortality; Artisanal fisheries; Southwestern Atlantic Ocean.

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