Guidelines for the Safe and Humane Handling and Release of Bycaught Small Cetaceans in Fishing Gear

The largest cause of small cetacean mortality is bycatch, the incidental capture of non-target species such as dolphins, marine turtles and seabirds. An estimated 300,000 cetaceans are killed in commercial fisheries each year, therefore preventing fisheries bycatch should be a top priority to ensure the conservation of species or populations. However, the threat of bycatch has yet to be eliminated, so these guidelines provide a practical tool to minimize its impacts by guiding fishers in the safe release of small cetaceans entangled in their gear, thus decreasing the risk of further in-jury or stress and increasing the chances of post-release survival.