Cetacean landings at the fisheries port of Dixcove, Ghana in 2013-14: A preliminary appraisal
Over 263 days of monitoring of fish landing procedures at Dixcove port, western Ghana, between January 2013 and February 2014, a local fisheries officer reported 743 small cetaceans landed. Of these, 109 specimens were identifiable to species (N=9) from photographs, comprising: 32.1% Stenella clymene, 17.4% Stenella attenuata, 14.7% Peponocephala electra, 12.8% Steno bredanensis, 6.4% Tursiops truncatus, 5.5% Globicephala macrorhynchus, 5.5% Stenella longirostris, 3.7% Delphinus cf. capensis and 1.8% Feresa attenuata. Most individuals appeared subadult or juvenile, including several calves. Only minor changes in species composition were recognised compared to 1999-2010. However, assuming field observer data to be broadly reliable, daily cetacean landings may have increased from 0.74 animals day -1 in 2001-2003 (Debrah et al. 2010) to 2.82 animals day -1 in 2013-14. Without a national management plan or abundance estimates, such a level of exploitation in a single port is of concern, particularly for S. clymene accounting for 1/3 of takes. Cetacean carcasses are processed locally and sold for human consumption (marine bushmeat).