Report of the International Whaling Commission (1994)


Many passive net fisheries exist along the Pacific coastlines of the USA (California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska), Canada (British Columbia) and the Russian Federation. Some incidental marine mammal mortality occurs in almost all of these fisheries. In this report, we examine 14 of the fisheries from this region that cause marine mammal mortality. The reviews include: (1) a discussion of the relevant laws pertaining to marine mammal mortality in fisheries in each of the three countries, (2) a brief synopsis of the target species and the area and method of operation for the fishery, (3) information on the economic importance of the fishery and the size of recent catches and (4) any available information on the levels of take of cetacean and pinniped species. Less complete, sometimes anecdotal information is provided for a number of other fisheries in this area. For the vast majority of all coastal fisheries along the North Pacific rim, insufficient information is available to determine whether the fisheries are having a negative impact on the species of marine mammals that live in this area. Based on our findings for this area, we make four recommendations for the gathering of additional information to evaluate the significance of fishery mortality on marine mammal populations and to help minimize its impact.