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High priority research an actions specified for small cetaceans in southern South America (Hucke-Gaete, 2000):

Fisheries interactions:

- Mathematical modelling of the effects of fishery interactions (both operational and ecological) on cetacean populations.
- Further identification of conflict areas between small cetaceans and fisheries.
- Collection of good field data on basic ecosystem interactions.
- Establishment of monitoring studies to assess the magnitude of incidental and directed mortalities of small cetaceans.
- Impact of marine mammals on fisheries, particularly artisanal fishing activities. Solutions are urgently needed, like the ones currently under experimentation in the U.S. concerning bycatch in gillnets, which are having encouraging results (see IWC, 1996).

Biological studies:

- Distribution and abundance of dolphin and porpoise populations and their fluctuations.
- Stock identity of sub-populations by means of morphological and molecular genetic studies.
- Natural history studies: sex and age structure, age at maturity, pregnancy rate and diet to assess possible effects of fisheries on populations.
- Possible effects of El Nińo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon over small
cetacean populations in relation to their habitat and prey items.

Political and private support:

- Establish a collaborative network, under the sponsorship of the CMS, among scientists of the countries involved. This network will function as a discussion forum on how to cover high priority research areas, solve specific problems, and achieve and encourage the training of young scientists (courses, exchanges, and scholarships in ongoing research programmes). To be able to implement this, we urge the establishment of a small conservation fund for meetings and
priority short term research.
- Regional reassessment of marine mammal species' conservation status by every government in close collaboration with scientists, in order to compare this status with the one informed by IUCN, and establish a local conservation regime.
- Further the adoption of precautionary principles by each government in the administration of fishing and faunal resources.
- Involve local, regional and national authorities in workshops to make them more willing to accept different point of views in the protection of marine resources.
- involve the private sector in the solution of conservation problems.
- Urge the creation of Protected Marine Areas (Reserves) with an effective management by each country, preferably following guidelines prepared by Kelleher & Kenchington (1991) for IUCN.

The implementation of inspectors (perhaps ad honorem) who must be authorized to enforce national regulations concerning marine mammal protection, should be assessed by each government.


Hucke-Gaete R ed. (2000) Review on the conservation status of small cetaceans in southern South America. UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Bonn, Germany, 24 pp.


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