Cetacean Bycatch in Longlines

Duke University scientists have been working with longline fishermen within the Cape Hatteras Special Research Area (CHSRA) to study pilot whale (Globicephala spp.) interactions with the longline fishery. Their initial findings were that short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) are the main species that interact with longline vessels during the fall season, that interactions within this fishery occur frequently and most often occur during the evening through the early morning, and that there is substantial depredation of tuna (target species) by pilot whales.

Researchers at Duke have examined the extent of pilot whale depredation on tuna off North Carolina to determine the proportion of the population that engages in depredation. They are examining the relative importance of tuna in the diet of pilot whales in the CHSRA using stable isotope analysis.

Additional studies include an examination of how variable hook strength relates to the ability of pilot whales to straighten hooks if caught, and an assessment of techniques worldwide for reducing cetacean bycatch in pelagic and demersal longline fisheries


Project Partner(s)
Duke University, University of North Carolina-Wilmington