Inter-Research > ESR > v49 > p217-232  
Endangered Species Research

via Mailchimp

ESR 49:217-232 (2022)  -  DOI:

Estimates of humpback and minke whale entanglements in the Scottish static pot (creel) fishery

Russell Leaper1,*, Ellie MacLennan2, Andrew Brownlow2, Susannah V. Calderan3, Katie Dyke4, Peter G. H. Evans5, Lauren Hartny-Mills6, Dan Jarvis7, Lauren McWhinnie8, Alistair Philp9, Fiona L. Read4, Kevin P. Robinson10, Conor Ryan11

1International Fund for Animal Welfare, London SE1 8NL, UK
2Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
3Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Argyll PA37 1QA, UK
4Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Spey Bay, Fochabers IV32 7PJ, UK
5Sea Watch Foundation, Ewyn Y Don, Bull Bay, Amlwch, Anglesey LL68 9SD, UK
6Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6NU, UK
7British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Lime House, Regency Close, Uckfield TN22 1DS, UK
8Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
9Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, 5 Queen Elizabeth Cottages, Furnace, Inveraray PA32 8XX, UK
10Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU), PO Box 11307, Banff AB45 3WB, UK
112 Shore Street Close, Tobermory PA75 6NT, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Entanglement in static fishing gear (pots, or creels as they are called in Scottish fisheries) is a major cause of anthropogenic mortality and morbidity in large whales globally; in northeastern Atlantic waters around the coast of Scotland, entanglement is a particular welfare and conservation concern for minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata and humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae. Reports from strandings, live disentanglements and interviews with Scottish inshore creel fishers were gathered to estimate entanglement rates. Considerably more whale entanglements occur in the Scottish creel fishery than previously thought based on strandings alone, with estimates of 6 humpback whales and 30 minke whales becoming entangled each year. Where entanglement type was reported, 83% of minke and 50% of humpback whales were caught in groundlines between creels. There was a positive correlation between the average amount of gear set by a vessel and the number of minke whale entanglements. For the west coast of Scotland, the estimated annual fatal entanglement rate of minke whales is 2.3% of a recent abundance estimate, suggesting a risk of localised depletion. There are very low densities of humpback whales in Scottish waters, but opportunistic observations suggest numbers are increasing. The estimated number of annual humpback whale entanglements also shows an increasing trend. There are few entanglement estimates for static pot fisheries globally; this study provides an indication of how such data might be derived. Scottish creel fishers have shown a willingness to engage in entanglement mitigation, with suggestions such as the introduction of sinking groundline to the sector, and these options should be urgently pursued.

KEY WORDS: Minke whale · Humpback whale · Entanglement · Bycatch · Creel fishery · Scotland

Full text in pdf format
Cite this article as: Leaper R, MacLennan E, Brownlow A, Calderan SV and others (2022) Estimates of humpback and minke whale entanglements in the Scottish static pot (creel) fishery. Endang Species Res 49:217-232.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article