Dolphins and Whales
In Peru there are 33 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in marine waters and two more in continental waters. The main threats to cetaceans are fisheries mortality (bycatch), marine pollution, habitat degradation, fishing with dynamite and direct captures for human consumption and for use as bait during fishing operations.
The species mostly affected are: Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Common dolphin (Delphinus capensis), Burmeister's porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis) and Dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus). Despite the fact that small cetaceans are protected in Peru by law 26585, this law is not fully enforced and conservation efforts are limited. For that reason, since 2005, ProDelphinus, has been monitoring the interaction of these animals in artisanal fisheries along the Peruvian. Through this work we have been able to better document and quantify dolphin mortalities in Peruvian fisheries.
Building upon these results, we tested acoustic alarms (also known as ‘pingers’) and are now working to get these devices used more widely in the fishery. Pingers emit a sound audible to marine mammals and our research documented a 40% decline in dolphin and porpoise bycatch when they were used. Getting pingers adopted widely in Peru could potentially save 1000s of dolphins and porpoises every year.