Journal Article

Interactions between Mediterranean bottlenose dolphins (<i>Tursiops truncatus</i>) and gillnets off Sardinia, Italy

Bruno Díaz López

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 5, pages 946-951
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Interactions between Mediterranean bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and gillnets off Sardinia, Italy

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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A first attempt at analysing interactions between bottlenose dolphins and gillnets along the northeastern coast of Sardinia (Italy) was conducted between October 1999 and December 2004. A new approach was used: combining interviews with fishers with boat-based direct observations and behavioural and group size analysis. Fishers on monitored boats noted 2556 days on which gillnet damage was caused by bottlenose dolphins, 68.7% of the total fishing days, with no difference between seasons. An annual estimate of the number of bottlenose dolphins caught in the gillnets was 1.47 (0.98 immatures and 0.49 adults). In all, 317 days were spent making observations at sea, of which 330.6 h were spent directly observing the dolphins. There were no changes in the distribution of daily encounter rate among seasons, group size, or number of immatures, in the presence or the absence of gillnets. However, bottlenose dolphins spent more time both in the study area and feeding when gillnets were present. The extent of the estimated bycatch is worrisome in terms of the ability of bottlenose dolphins off Sardinia to sustain such an annual loss.

Keywords: behaviour; bottlenose dolphin; bycatch; fisheries; gillnets; Mediterranean Sea; trammel nets

Journal Article.  3141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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