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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 21:255-262 (2013)  -  DOI:

Finless porpoise bycatch in Ariake Sound and Tachibana Bay, Japan

Miki Shirakihara1,*, Kunio Shirakihara2

1Faculty of Science, Toho University, Miyama, Funabashi, Chiba 274-8510, Japan
2Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8564, Japan

ABSTRACT: Bycatch of narrow-ridged finless porpoises Neophocaena asiaeorientalis in gillnets was estimated for the Ariake Sound/Tachibana Bay population in Japan using interview-based surveys. In 2007 and 2008, the minimum number (actual number reported by all interviewees) of bycatch was 31 to 35 individuals (ind.) yr-1. The number of interviewees was 131 to 136 in each year. The bycatch estimate was 238 (95% CI 123 to 353) to 270 (95% CI 148 to 391) ind. yr-1. The estimate exceeded the potential biological removal level of this population, 27 ind., which was calculated on the basis of a published abundance estimate. The bycatch estimate accounted for 8% of the abundance. The bycatch rate was 0.237 ind. gillnetter-1 yr-1 in 2007 and 0.257 ind. gillnetter-1 yr-1 in 2008. Additional analysis of information on bycatch in the bottom-set gillnet fisheries collected from 1987 to 1992 suggested an increase in bycatch during fall and winter seasons, the possible existence of a calving ground, and age–sex related habitat use patterns. Neonates were found in a restricted area, whereas nursing calves and possible calves were seen in a wide range of waters, implying outward movement of mother-calf pairs from a calving ground. Neither neonates nor nursing calves were captured in waters deeper than 30 m.

KEY WORDS: Narrow-ridged finless porpoise · Neophocaena asiaeorientalis・ · Gillnets · Habitat use · Ariake Sound/Tachibana Bay population · Japan

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Cite this article as: Shirakihara M, Shirakihara K (2013) Finless porpoise bycatch in Ariake Sound and Tachibana Bay, Japan. Endang Species Res 21:255-262.

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