FAO Fisheries Series (1982)


This paper reviews current knowledge of Burmeister’s porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis), probably the most abundant coastal small cetacean in southern South American waters and probably existing in two isolated Atlantic and Pacific populations. Although almost nothing is known about the population size or state of either, the Pacific population is the largest of the two, the population in the Atlantic perhaps being limited by competition from four other small cetaceans. Diagnostic and general characters of its morphology are given; very little is known about any other aspect of its biology. Large numbers of this species are taken incidentally in Peru and Chile, though no catch statistics are available. A small number are also taken each year in Argentina and Uruguay. In order to assess the magnitude of this mortality, catch statistics and data relating to its life history should be collected.