Report of the International Whaling Commission (1994)


In 1988 and 1989 we monitored the fish terminal of Pucusana, central Peru, for 259 and 233 days respectively, and observed 1,613 and 1,292 small cetaceans landed. The estimated total yearly kills (1988/1989) at this port are 2,289 (SE=130) and 2,320 (SE=117) animals, including 1,725/1,893 dusky dolphins, 383/331 Burmeister’s porpoises, 155/57 common dolphins, 18/31 bottlenose dolphins and 8/8 specimens of other species. With few exceptions, the animals were captured incidentally or directly in gillnets in a multispecies artisanal fishery (only about twelve animals were seen with harpoon wounds). The total kill at Pucusana in 1989 had increased roughly by a factor of three compared to 1986 levels and tenfold compared to 1985. A shift was observed in seasonality of peak landings of dusky and common dolphins. Catch estimates for another port, Cerro Azul (13°00’S), are 68 (SE=17) dolphins and porpoises in December 1987 and 131 (SE=47) in July 1988. Analysis of statistics provided by the Ministry of Fisheries (MIPE) suggest a steady decline in small cetacean catches for the entire coast of Peru, from an estimated 9,700 animals (756 metric tonnes) in 1985 to 5,500 (426 metric tonnes) in 1988; the reason for this is unknown since the trend in artisanal fishing effort associated with cetacean mortality cannot be deduced from existing data. There is an urgent need to continue and expand research in the area.