Original Paper

Polar Biology

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 379-388

Interactions between Cetacean and Fisheries in the Southern Ocean

  • Karl-Hermann KockAffiliated withInstitut für Seefischerei, Bundesforschungsanstalt für Fischerei Email author 
  • , Martin G PurvesAffiliated withCapfish
  • , Guy DuhamelAffiliated withDépartment des millieux et peuplement aquatiques, Biodiversité et dynamique des communautés aquatiques USM 403, Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle

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Soon after longlining on Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) started in the Southern Ocean in the second half of the 1980s, interactions of cetaceans with these fisheries became apparent. The two species primarily involved were orcas (killer whales) (Orcinus orca) and male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Both species took substantial number of fish from the line primarily during day light hours. Catch rates of longliners declined to less than 50% when orcas occurred close to longline vessels while the loss to sperm whales was much less obvious. They were seen diving close to the line down to 400 m where they apparently took fish. Their impact on catch rates was much less notable. Sperm whales became frequently entangled in the line and part of the line was lost in a number of cases. Other cetaceans were rarely seen in the vicinity of longline vessels. They became entangled in the line only occasionally and one whale (presumably a minke whale) died.