Fisheries Interactions

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Interactions between marine mammals and fisheries continue to grow with the human demand for seafood. Globally, thousands of dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions and other species are injured or killed through interactions with fisheries every year. More still are affected by the impacts of overfishing on marine and estuarine ecosystems.
The incidental capture, or bycatch, of marine mammals in fisheries threatens numerous populations and some species with extinction in the 21st century. This resource management challenge is widely recognised by both scientists and managers as the most immediate and prevalent threat to marine mammal conservation. It is also recognised in the legislation of different countries around the world such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the United States and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of Australia. Gathering baseline information on impacted marine mammal populations and conducting assessments of the level of bycatch in fisheries are critical to understanding the scale and solutions to this problem.

Progress toward the ecologically sustainable management of fisheries and the minimisation of impacts on protected species is rarely achieved without collaboration and cooperation between researchers, industry and management agencies.

Australia’s massive coastline and Economic Exclusion Zone support both recreational and commercial fisheries, as well as a diverse assemblage of marine mammals. Interactions between marine mammals and fisheries occur in most State and Commonwealth waters.

Read more about our Fisheries Interaction research.

Relevant lab publications:

Allen SJ and Loneragan, NR 2010. Reducing dolphin bycatch in the Pilbara finfish trawl fishery. Report to the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. 60pp.

Allen SJTyne JA, Kobryn HT, Bejder LPollock KH and Loneragan, N. (2014) Patterns of Dolphin Bycatch in a North-Western Australian Trawl Fishery. PLoS ONE 9(4): e93178. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093178

Jaiteh VF, Allen SJ, Meeuwig JJ & Loneragan NR Accepted. Combining in-trawl video with observer coverage improves understanding of protected and vulnerable species bycatch in trawl fisheries. Marine & Freshwater Research 2013

Jaiteh VF, Allen SJ, Meeuwig JJ & Loneragan NR 2013. Subsurface behaviour of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) interacting with fish trawl nets in north-western Australia. Marine Mammal Science 29: E266-E281.

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