[MARMAM] Sharing new publication on “Marine mammals used as bait for improvised fish aggregating devices in marine waters of Ecuador, eastern tropical Pacific"

Juan Jose Alava jj_alava at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 19 15:38:18 PDT 2020

Dear Marmam colleagues,

I trust this message finds you well.

On behalf of my co-authors (Dr. CristinaCastro, Dr. Koen Van Waerebeek and Diana Cárdenas), I am pleased to share a newpaper on “Marine mammals used as baitfor improvised fish aggregating devices in marine waters of Ecuador, easterntropical Pacific,” which is was pushy early this year in EndangeredSpecies Research (ESR) and represent the first effort to identify and assess theimpact of fish aggregating devices (FADs)on marine mammals, including pinnipeds, small toothed cetaceans and largewhale species in waters off Ecuador’s coast,and one of the first ones along the Pacific coast of South America. This contributionis part of the ESRSpecial: Marine vertebrate bycatch: problems and solutions (https://www.int-res.com/journals/esr/specials/marine-vertebrate-bycatch-problems-and-solutions/).

The articleis an Open Access paper and can be found at the following links;



Fulldetails and abstract:

Citation: Castro C, Van WaerebeekK, Cárdenas D, Alava JJ (2020) Marine mammals used as bait for improvised fishaggregating devices in marine waters of Ecuador, eastern tropical Pacific.Endangered Species Research 41:289-302. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01015 


*Correspondence: Juan José Alava, j.alava at oceans.ubc.ca; jalavasa at sfu.ca


Online publication date: March 12,2020



Fish aggregating devices (FADs) arefloating objects typically used to attract and capture pelagic fish inindustrial tuna fisheries. This study documents 9 cases, involving 31 marinemammals, of incidentally captured, killed or otherwise retrieved cetaceans andpinnipeds which were used, or presumably used, as bait for improvised fishaggregation devices (IFAD) by artisanal fishers in coastal Ecuador. At least 3species of small cetaceans were affected, including pantropical spotted dolphinStenella attenuata, short-finned pilot whale Globicephalamacrorhynchus, pygmy killer whale Feresa attenuata and anunidentified small delphinid, as well as South American sea lions Otariabyronia which were reportedly killed on purpose for this fishing practice.A sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus and a humpback whale Megapteranovaeangliae were presumably found floating at sea and opportunisticallyexploited as FADs. The South American sea lion represented 80.6% of marinemammals used as bait associated with FADs (25 sea lions out of 31 marinemammals), while the remaining 5 (possibly 6) cetacean species represented19.4%. This is the first report of baited FADs in Ecuador, the extent of whichis still unknown. This fishing technique has not been documented in othernations along the west coast of South America, although baiting of gillnetswith marine mammal parts is common in Peru. Without fisheries management andregulation, this illegal fishing practice could rapidly expand and lead tofurther direct kills and conservation problems for targeted marine mammalpopulations in the eastern tropical Pacific. A bottom-up fisheries policy inconcert with community-based conservation to ban the use of marine mammals asFAD bait is recommended 


Keywords: Cetacean · Pinniped · Sea turtles · Bycatch · Bait ·Conservation · Fisheries management · South America · Pacific Ocean


Wishingyou all well and stay safe.


Juan Jose Alava

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