ESEP prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00179

Anecdotal information on dolphin-fisheries interactions based on fishers empirical knowledge (northeastern Mediterranean Sea)

Androniki Pardalou*, Athanassios C. Tsikliras

*Email: apardalou@bio.auth.gr

ABSTRACT: Fishers experience and anecdotal information provided by local fishers is an invaluable tool in the study of marine mammal-fisheries interactions. This paper summarizes the empirical and anecdotal information voluntarily provided by fishers, alongside a survey on monitoring the damages caused by dolphins on coastal fishery. In this survey we visited 23 fishing harbours along the northern Aegean Sea coastline and monitored the fishing gear of 113 coastal fishers in order to identify the damages caused by dolphins. While we were monitoring the damages, the fishers voluntarily shared their general views on marine mammals and fisheries interactions, which were recorded and are presented here. The majority of fishers maintain that fishing gear, mesh size, depth, and target species were important factors that determine depredation frequency and damage on the gear. On the other hand, soaking time, time of day and season were not considered crucial by them. The above findings provide useful insight on the study of dolphin-fishery interactions, especially for data poor areas such as the northeastern Mediterranean Sea. The empirical knowledge of the fishers and their views are also important from an ethical perspective because dolphins in the Mediterranean had been culled and killed for bounties for many years, whereas even today occasional dolphin deliberate killings are still recorded. Such information is required in the design of any management strategy that aims to minimize the conflicts with dolphins, thus preserving the fishers income.