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By-catch of cetaceans and other species of conservation concern during pair trawl fishing operations in the Adriatic Sea (Italy)

  • Autori: Fortuna, CM; Vallini, C; Filidei, E; Ruffino, M; Consalvo, I; Di Muccio, S; Gion, C; Scacco, U; Tarulli, E; Giovanardi, O; Mazzola, A
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2010
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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By-catch is one of the main sources of anthropogenic mortality in marine species of conservation concern worldwide. Between 2006 and 2008, the Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare (CoNISMa) coordinated a monitoring programme of cetacean by-catch in Italian pelagic trawlers, funded in compliance with European Regulation 812/2004. Sixteen independent observers monitored a total of 3141 hauls. The observation coverage ranged between 0.9 and 6.3% of the regional fishing effort. Almost all by-catch events were recorded in the northern Adriatic Sea. By-catch rates of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) were 0.0006 and 0.0255 individuals per haul, respectively. Given the low number of observed deaths, reliable estimates of total mortality for these two species were not obtained. The annual number of by-caught turtles was 863 (CV=0.15), with 99% released alive. A ‘hotspot’ for turtle captures was found off Goro (south Venice). The existence of lethal interactions makes it important to understand whether the scale of this mortality is sufficient to pose a threat at population level. Finally, annual by-catch estimates for rays and sharks were 5436 (CV=0.08) and 5414 (CV=0.15), respectively. Thintail threshers (Alopias vulpinus), piked dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and smooth-hounds (Mustelus mustelus), which are both commercial and vulnerable to overfishing, were taken in large numbers.