Archive | 2021
Recent Survey for Delphinids at Tristao Islands, Guinea, Reinforces Concern for Bycatches and Marine Bushmeat Use
Small-boat and shore-based surveys in 2017 confirm that Atlantic humpback (Sousa teuszii) and common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are resident in shallow neritic waters surrounding the protected MPA Tristao Islands in northern Guinea. Inshore-type T. truncatus were encountered also between Conakry and Kayar. First documented in 2012, dolphin bycatches in local fisheries continue to occur. The frequency of beach-cast remains suggests a significant conservation issue. Both multi- and monofilament gillnets are widely deployed, but it remains unclear which gear is the main cause of mortality. Forensic evidence shows that captured dolphins are often utilized for local consumption. Marine bushmeat of cetaceans is documented in many coastal nations in West and Central Africa. In Tristao Islands their use is synchronous with and thought related to declining fish stocks. Significant anthropogenic mortality relative to their low abundance, besides suspected pressures such as prey competition with fisheries and habitat deterioration from coastal development, raise concern for the future of coastal dolphins, in particular endangered S. teuszii, even in this formally protected MPA. Conservation measures need to be re-evaluated for improved efficiency while surveys to monitor trends should be annual.