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 injury or stress and increasing the chances of post-release survival.