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Abundance and Potential Biological Removal of Common Dolphins Subject to Fishery Impacts in South Australian Waters


Parra, Guido J; Bilgmann, Kerstin; Peters, Katharina J; Möller, Luciana M (2021). Abundance and Potential Biological Removal of Common Dolphins Subject to Fishery Impacts in South Australian Waters. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8:617075.

Abstract

Conservation management of wildlife species should be underpinned by knowledge of their distribution and abundance, as well as impacts of human activities on their populations and habitats. Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) are subject to incidental capture in a range of Australia’s commercial fisheries including gill netting, purse seining and mid-water trawling. The impact these fishery interactions have on common dolphin populations is uncertain, as estimates of abundance are lacking, particularly for the segments of the populations at risk of bycatch and in greater need of protection. Here we used double-observer platform aerial surveys and mark-recapture distance sampling methods to estimate the abundance of common dolphins in 2011 over an area of 42,438 km$^{2}$ in central South Australia, where incidental mortality of common dolphins due to fisheries bycatch is the highest. We also used the potential biological removal (PBR) method to estimate sustainable levels of human-caused mortality for this segment of the population. The estimated abundance of common dolphins was 21,733 (CV = 0.25; 95% CI = 13,809–34,203) in austral summer/autumn and 26,504 in winter/spring (CV = 0.19; 95% CI = 19,488–36,046). Annual PBR estimates, assuming a conservative maximum population growth rate of R$_{max}$ = 0.02 and a recovery factor of F$_{r}$ = 0.5 for species of unknown conservation status, ranged from 189 (summer/autumn) to 239 dolphins (winter/spring), and from 378 (summer/autumn) to 478 dolphins (winter/spring) with an R$_{max}$ = 0.04. Our results indicate that common dolphins are an abundant dolphin species in waters over the central South Australian continental shelf (up to 100 m deep). Based on the 2011 abundance estimates of this species, the highest estimated bycatch of common dolphins (423 mortalities in 2004/05) in the southern Australian region exceeded the precautionary PBR estimates for this population segment. Recent bycatch levels appear to be below PBR estimates, but low observer coverage and underreporting of dolphin mortalities by fishers means that estimates of dolphin bycatch rates are not robust. The effects of cumulative human impacts on common dolphins are not well understood, and thus we recommend a precautionary management approach to manage common dolphin bycatch based on local abundance estimates.

Abstract

Conservation management of wildlife species should be underpinned by knowledge of their distribution and abundance, as well as impacts of human activities on their populations and habitats. Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) are subject to incidental capture in a range of Australia’s commercial fisheries including gill netting, purse seining and mid-water trawling. The impact these fishery interactions have on common dolphin populations is uncertain, as estimates of abundance are lacking, particularly for the segments of the populations at risk of bycatch and in greater need of protection. Here we used double-observer platform aerial surveys and mark-recapture distance sampling methods to estimate the abundance of common dolphins in 2011 over an area of 42,438 km$^{2}$ in central South Australia, where incidental mortality of common dolphins due to fisheries bycatch is the highest. We also used the potential biological removal (PBR) method to estimate sustainable levels of human-caused mortality for this segment of the population. The estimated abundance of common dolphins was 21,733 (CV = 0.25; 95% CI = 13,809–34,203) in austral summer/autumn and 26,504 in winter/spring (CV = 0.19; 95% CI = 19,488–36,046). Annual PBR estimates, assuming a conservative maximum population growth rate of R$_{max}$ = 0.02 and a recovery factor of F$_{r}$ = 0.5 for species of unknown conservation status, ranged from 189 (summer/autumn) to 239 dolphins (winter/spring), and from 378 (summer/autumn) to 478 dolphins (winter/spring) with an R$_{max}$ = 0.04. Our results indicate that common dolphins are an abundant dolphin species in waters over the central South Australian continental shelf (up to 100 m deep). Based on the 2011 abundance estimates of this species, the highest estimated bycatch of common dolphins (423 mortalities in 2004/05) in the southern Australian region exceeded the precautionary PBR estimates for this population segment. Recent bycatch levels appear to be below PBR estimates, but low observer coverage and underreporting of dolphin mortalities by fishers means that estimates of dolphin bycatch rates are not robust. The effects of cumulative human impacts on common dolphins are not well understood, and thus we recommend a precautionary management approach to manage common dolphin bycatch based on local abundance estimates.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Oceanography
Physical Sciences > Global and Planetary Change
Life Sciences > Aquatic Science
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Physical Sciences > Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
Physical Sciences > Ocean Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ocean Engineering, Water Science and Technology, Aquatic Science, Global and Planetary Change, Oceanography
Language:English
Date:9 September 2021
Deposited On:25 Jan 2022 08:55
Last Modified:26 Jun 2024 01:51
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:2296-7745
Additional Information:Parra, Guido J; Bilgmann, Kerstin; Peters, Katharina J; Möller, Luciana M (2022). Corrigendum: Abundance and Potential Biological Removal of Common Dolphins Subject to Fishery-Impacts in South Australian Waters. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9:913726.
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.617075
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/227978/
Project Information:
  • : FunderAustralian Antarctic Division
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)