PIC: Imaged above are several dolphins trapped in a gillnet which was meant to catch tuna. Most of these dolphins won't be released because it would cost the fisherman several hundreds of fish. The nets do not serve any protective measure for dolphins.
PIC: In this image above, are several dolphins caught in fishing gear who have unfortunately passed away. Specifically, these are Hector Dolphins and their species is on the brink of extinction due to by-catch and getting caught in fishing gear. In the photo, it is apparent that the dolphins were unable to escape.
STAT: This infographic displays the many types of fishing gear dolphins are prone to getting caught in. In the Baltic Sea, West Africa, South America, and New Zealand, the Harbour Porpoise, Franciscana Dolphin, Atlantic Humpback Dolphin, Spinner Dolphin, and Maui Dolphin are caught in Gillnets. The Common Dolphin is caught by pure seine in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, and the Common Dolphin is also caught in the Atlantic Ocean by trawl. Keep in mind, any species of dolphin can be caught anywhere; these are just the main categories.
STAT: This infographic is related to by-catch and explains some key facts: 300,000 cetaceans (dolphins) are killed every year and 27 million tons of by-catch are discarded every year. Only 10% of by-catch are actually eaten and the rest are discarded, less than 2% of our planet's oceans are protected from factors that kill marine life.
WEB: One of the main ways dolphins are being caught as by-catch is when fishermen are fishing for tuna. The tuna population is quickly declining as a result of overfishing, so fisheries are finding aggressive ways to get any fish they can. Their use of gill nets and bottom trawl nets are scooping up anything they can get a handle on (dolphins) resulting in a large number of deaths of other species. Fisheries don't like releasing the dolphins either because it can also result in losing hundreds of fish. Fish=money!
WEB: By-catch of dolphins is the leading cause of death among cetacean species (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) all over the world; by-catch has been found as the most serious threat of dolphin populations. Driftnets, certain pure-seine tuna fisheries, gill nets, and mid-water trawl fisheries are causing such high mortality rates. This fishing gear is causing the cetaceans to drown, starve to death, and become entangled. Over 300,000 cetacean species are killed each year as a result of by-catch, so the EU has banned the use of driftnets of any length. When is the rest of the world going to do something?
NEWS: Summary: Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals (dolphins) are killed from being caught as by-catch when fishing for tuna. Marine mammal injuries and deaths are high due to fishing practices and more specifically, getting trapped in trawls. The United State's fishing methods have become safer, but international fish imports don't use safe fishing methods yet. Import standards need to be upgraded so these mammals aren't at risk. Sustainability: This is very unsustainable because even though the US's fishing methods may be getting better, they still import a majority of their seafood; International fishing methods aren't sustainable. There aren't currently any standards for international fishing and more international fishing takes place than fishing in the US. Internationally and in the US, fishing policies need to be better monitored, so we can be assured they are being followed. Cause: The root cause of this event is poor international fishing policies, which is leading to by-catch and the death of sea mammals, including dolphins. I am questioning if international fishing policies are in the works. If so, I wonder what they are and how they will make sure they are actually being followed.
NEWS: Summary: Gillnets and trawl nets are killing dolphins. Specifically, the Hector Dolphin's population had dropped from 30,000 to 7,000 after nylon fishing nets were put into place in the 1970's; the Maui dolphin population is also fewer than 100 mammals. These fishing methods are expected to continually wipe out these dolphin populations. More selective fishing methods are said to be a solution to this issue. Sustainability/Impacts: This is extremely unsustainable because eventually these two species of dolphins will become extinct unless more sustainable fishing methods are put into place. These species are in more danger than other species of dolphins, but by-catch is also hurting them. Causes: The root cause of this event is unsustainable fishing methods including gillnets and trawl nets. This article coincides with some other information I found relating to Hector Dolphins, which said their populations are in jeopardy due to by-catch. This makes me question whether or not fishermen know the impact they have on dolphins, and if they're working on better methods.
SOLUTION: NOAA is working to prevent by-catch from being caught by fishermen and keep it in the sea where it belongs. Leading, is the United States. The NOAA suggests developing and promoting gear designs which would prevent non-targeted species from getting caught, monitoring by-catch hotspots so fisherman can stay away from them, and educating fisherman on how to release unwanted by-catch.
SOLUTION: Alternative fishing gear is a must to prevent by-catch of dolphins and WWF is working to strengthen legislation on by-catch and raising consumer awareness. WWF has also introduced the "circle" hook which will prevent other sea mammals from getting hooked by the mouth. They're also working with partners in search of a different type of trawl net to reduce by-catch while also allowing fishermen to catch what they're looking for.
CONCLUSION: Current fishing methods are defeating the dolphin population. However, if fisheries start using alternative fishing gear, and legislations are put into place, the dolphin population can be saved! It won't be an easy task, but it is possible.