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New Report: Fisheries Interactions with Bottlenose Dolphins and Sharks

NOAA Fisheries has completed a report to Congress on the interactions between bottlenose dolphins and sharks and fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The report quantifies the degree to which dolphins and sharks interfere with commercial, charter, and recreational fishing and recommends non-lethal methods to deter dolphins and sharks from interfering with fisheries. Congress requested this report in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260). The report was informed by consultations with the Marine Mammal Commission, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel, as well as public comment to the Councils and Advisory Panel.

Key Takeaways

  • Dolphin and shark interactions with fisheries are complex and challenging, and increasing in some areas of the Gulf of Mexico in recent years.
  • Fishery interactions with bottlenose dolphins and sharks are problematic for fishermen, dolphins, and sharks.
  • More data are needed to fully understand the nature, extent, frequency, and geographic locations of these interactions.
  • An enhanced, thoughtful, and collaborative approach is needed to manage the complex nature of these interactions.
  • Avoiding interactions, whenever possible, is the safest method for preventing death or serious injury to dolphins and sharks and the best way to minimize risk to human safety.

Read the report HERE.

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