Marine mammals used as bait with improvised Fish Aggregating Devices in Ecuador
Cristina Castro, Diana Cardenas, Gregory Kaufman and Koen Van Waerebeek
International Whaling Commission
We document 8 cases (30 animals) of incidentally captured cetaceans and pinnipeds used as bait with improvised Fish Aggregation Devices (iFAD) by fishermen in coastal Ecuador. At least Stenella attenuata, Delphinus delphis and Globicephala macrorhynchus are affected, as well as Otaria byronia, the latter reportedly killed on purpose. Dead sperm whales may be opportunistically exploited as FADs. This is the first report of baited FADs in Ecuador and its extent is unknown. This practice has not been reported from neighbouring countries. Without regulation it could rapidly expand and lead to directed kills and conservation problems for affected marine mammal populations.