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Type: Journal article
Title: Measurement, management and mitigation of operational interactions between the South Australian Sardine Fishery and short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)
Author: Hamer, D.
Ward, T.
McGarvey, R.
Citation: Biological Conservation, 2008; 141(11):2865-2878
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ltd
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 0006-3207
Statement of
Derek J. Hamer, Tim M. Ward and Richard McGarvey
Abstract: This study arose from recommendations given in response to a legislated ecological assessment of the South Australian Sardine Fishery in 2004, urging it to: (i) attempt to mitigate operational interactions with marine mammals if excessive levels were detected; and (ii) improve the accuracy of their reporting of these events. An initial observer program revealed high rates of encirclement and mortality (1.78 and 0.39 dolphins per net-set, respectively) of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). This equated to an estimate of 1728 encirclements and 377 mortalities across the entire fleet over the same period. The average time taken for fishers to respond to encirclements was 135.93 ± 3.72 min and 21.3% of encircled animals subsequently died. During that time, fishers only reported 3.6% of encirclements and 1.9% of mortalities recorded by observers. A code of practice (CoP) was subsequently introduced aimed at mitigating operational interactions. A second observer program revealed a significant reductions in the observed rates of dolphin encirclement (0.22; down 87.3%) and mortality (0.01; down 97.1%) with an estimate of 169 and eight, respectively. The average time taken for fishers to respond to dolphin encirclements also reduced to 16.33 ± 4.67 min (down 76.9%) and the proportion of encircled animals that subsequently died reduced to 5.0%. Agreement between industry reports and observer records improved, with the fishery reporting 57.9% and 58.9% of the rate of encirclements and mortalities, respectively, recorded by observers. A number of avoidance and release strategies in the CoP may have been responsible for these improvements. In particular, fishers were required to delay or relocate their activities if dolphins were observed prior to fishing and to release encircled dolphins immediately or abort the fishing event if release procedures were unsuccessful. Future improvements to the CoP include: (i) improved response times when an encircled dolphin is detected; (ii) better use of behavioural cues for deciding when to abort a net-set; (iii) ceasing fishing during rough weather; and (iv) continuing to increase reporting accuracy by fishers. It is also recommended that the abundance, movements and boundaries of the common dolphin population in the region be determined, so that the impact of fishing activities on their status can be established.
Keywords: Code of practice
Stress behaviour
Fisher behaviour
Observer program
Rights: Crown copyright © 2008 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.08.024
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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