Strandings and mortality of cetaceans due to interactions with fishing nets in Ecuador, 2001 â€“ 2017
Cristina Castro and Koen van Waerebeek
This preliminary note briefly reports on cetacean strandings and interactions with fishing nets (mostly gillnets) on the Ecuadorian coast. Between June 2001 and March 2017 the carcasses of 130 cetaceans of 18 species which stranded on the coasts of Ecuador were examined. These included 59 humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), 9 pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata), 8 common dolphins (Delphinus sp.), and 54 individuals of 14 other species of dolphins and whales. The cause of death was diagnosed in 54 (38%) of cases, with the most frequent one being entanglement in fishing gear (n=43). The cases in wich the cause of death was a confirmed interaction with fishing gear included 18 of 59 (31%) humpback whales, 7 of 9 (78%) spotted dolphins, 4 of 8 (50%) common dolphins, 3 of 6 (50%) dwarf sperm whales and 11 of 31 (22%) individuals of other species, as recorded along the Ecuadorian coast.