Threat: By-catch

What is Cetacean By-catch?
By-catch is any animal that is unintentionally caught in fishing gear. These animals may be kept for sale or use by the fisherman or may be thrown back to sea alive or dead. Cetacean by-catch is the accidental capture of whales or dolphin in fishing gear (nets, hooks or traps) and is considered the greatest threat to cetaceans worldwide.

How does By-catch affect cetaceans?
Becoming caught in fishing gear can result in small injuries in the best of cases but often results in serious injuries such as deep cuts and even amputations of flippers or flukes. In the worst cases, by-catch can mean death. They can die as a result of injuries or can be trapped underwater by the fishing gear and, unable to surface to breathe, they drown.

By-catch in Trinidad and Tobago
There is little known about cetacean by-catch in Trinidad and Tobago as there has not been a concerted effort to keep by-catch records locally. Records of several dolphins species (bottlenose dolphins, orca and common dolphins) being caught in gillnets and seine nets are evidence that this threat does exist locally but more research needs to be done to determine the level and nature of this threat in Trinidad and Tobago.
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