A recent paper by William A. McLellan of UNC-Wilmington and colleagues examined the behavior of different longline hooks in the mouths of one small whale and two dolphin species. These are among many species of cetaceans that prey on the hooked bait and catch of longline fishermen. The consequence can be fatal to the marine mammal and costly to fishermen. Using weaker "whale-safe" hooks that can be straightened by the mouths of cetaceans but still retain target tuna or swordfish is among the options to consider in reducing marine mammal fatalities following the interaction. The authors discuss likely characteristics of hooks that may help reduce the severity of hookings to these species.
Study is part of a contribution to the Consortium's research into the potential of whale-safe hooks.