Biological Conservation (1990)

DOI: 10.1016/0006-3207(90)90028-n


The small cetacean catch by artisanal fishermen in Peru was the subject of a IUCN/UNEP project in 1985–1986. In a follow-up study during 1987 we monitored the port of Pucusana, on the central Peruvian coast, for 298 days. In order to estimate monthly and total annual catches, mean daily catch rates were calculated for each species, stratified by month. Total landed volume, catch seasonality and capture methods were compared to results of former years. For the four main species 1987 catch estimates at Pucusana were: dusky dolphin (711), common dolphin (264), Burmeister’s porpoise (83), bottlenose dolphin (30), total small cetaceans (1101). Except for the bottlenose dolphin, all figures are higher than in 1986, dramatically so for the common dolphin. Most animals were caught in gill nets, either directly or incidentally, or were harpooned. The steep increase of small cetacean landings should raise concerns about the future of dolphin and porpoise in Peruvian coastal waters.