Artisanal Fisheries - Cetacean interactions in the canary islands

Rodríguez-Juncá A, Pérez AE, Doce MG, et al (2023) Artisanal Fisheries - Cetacean interactions in the canary islands

Interactions between cetaceans and fisheries are a worldwide problem including in the Canary Islands (Spain). Here, the small-scale fishing fleet plays a role in maintaining the food security of the archipelago as well as socio-economic and cultural values. The Canary Islands waters contain 30 species of cetaceans protected under Spanish (Law 42/2007; 4/2010) and European law (OSPAR, BONN, BERN). The range areas of cetacean species overlap with small-scale fishing grounds, sharing common fishing resources. This situation facilitates the appearance of human-wildlife interactions. This study aimed to obtain the first characterization of the interactions between small-scale fisheries and cetacean species in the Canary Islands waters, detecting hotspots and characterizing the potential incidence. A total of 239 interviews were conducted covering all the small-scale fishers’ guilds in the archipelago. Interviews were carried out employing a questionnaire specifically designed to assess the typology, intensity, losses and damages, mitigation measures used and small-scale fishers’ perception. Interviews revealed positive (collaboration) and negative (depredation, gear loss/damage, bycatch) interactions. The intensity and typology of interactions varied between and within islands. Here we present the negative interactions with an archipelagic scope. A better understanding of the interactions and correct management tools can improve the coexistence between cetaceans and small scale fisheries and sustainability of this social and economic activity.