|Date||21 Sep 2015|
Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa sp.), an animal protected by Indian law (Wildlife Protection Act, 1972) are regularly sighted in coastal waters around Karwar. Local knowledge is that these animals often interact with fishing gear, especially active purse seines, yet such events have not been documented systematically and scientifically. It is also possible that other small cetaceans are found but not recorded yet within this region, such as the finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides), reliably documented in neighbouring regions to the north and south and also known to interact with similar fishery operations in at least one region (Mangalore) along the same coastline. This project aims to investigate these events from actively fishing purse seine vessels, in order to better understand the nature and frequency of these interactions, and their implications to the dolphins and to the fishery. Any future conservation and conflict-mitigation measures in this region would have to be community-driven and livelihood-based, and in order to aid such efforts, this project aims to also assess local fisher folks’ and other stakeholders’ perceptions of these animals.
Additionally, this project aims to engage the small-scale fishing communities in the region in conservation-oriented activities such as the monitoring, collection and sound disposal of marine debris including plastics and derelict fishing gear, which evidently plague not only this region but the oceans on a global scale and are a known leading cause of marine animal casualties and deaths. We hope to also initiate a basic stranding reporting network for the region in order to make news of stranding incidents available to the research community and local authorities, drawing from such past incidents in this region that have either gone unreported or have been reported only anecdotally.
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Long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis tropicalis), part of a superpod sighted during an opportunistic offshore survey.
An Indian humpback dolphin foraging at an active purse seine.
Bryde's whales (Baleanoptera edeni), a mother-calf pair sighted in offshore shelf waters in the vicinity of active tuna purse seiners.