Differences in Dolphin Mortality Rates in Night and Day Sets for the U.S. Eastern Tropical Pacific Tuna Purse Seine Fishery
Because dolphins sometimes travel with yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP), purse seiners use the dolphins to locate and capture tuna schools. During the process of setting the purse seine nets, dolphins often become entangled and drown before they can be released. Data for the US purse seine fleet in the ETP during 1979-88 show that dolphin mortality rates in sets made during the night are higher than mortally rates in sets made during the day. Even with efforts to reduce night sets mortality rates through the use of high intensity floodlights, night set mortality rates remain higher. The data are also used to simulate a regulation on the fishery aimed at eliminating night sets and show that dolphin mortally rates could decrease.