Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Whaling, seal hunting and the effect of fisheries on marine mammals

There are various types of interactions between marine mammals and fisheries, and their presence in the same area inevitably leads to conflicts. Marine mammals may lose their lives as bycatch, which is the incidental catch of non-target species in fishing gear. On the other hand, some marine mammals specialise in feeding on fish caught in fishing gear, resulting in damaged and reduced catch as well as destroyed fishing gear. There are different methods to reduce bycatch and catch damage, such as reducing fishing efforts, using acoustic deterrent devices, employing temporal and zonal closure of fishing areas and using alternative fishing gear. Here we give an overview of whaling and sealing from historical and present perspectives, with examples for Baltic marine mammals. We present hands-on activities to familiarise students and teachers with investigations of prey remains, such as otoliths (fish ear stones) found in faeces, to learn about marine mammal diet. Additionally, we introduce a whaling role play designed as a debate between interest groups, to better understand whaling from different perspectives.

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