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A review of the status of the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea) in Pakistan
Kiani, M.S.; Van Waerebeek, K. (2015). A review of the status of the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea) in Pakistan. Adv. Mar. Biol. 72: 201–228.
In: Advances in Marine Biology. Academic Press: London, New York. ISSN 0065-2881, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Conservation; Life history; Pollution; Sousa plumbea (G. Cuvier, 1829) [WoRMS]; Pakistan [Marine Regions]; Pakistan, Sindh; Marine
Author keywords
    Indian Ocean humpback dolphin; Indus River Delta; Balochistan; Fisheries interactions

Authors  Top 
  • Kiani, M.S.
  • Van Waerebeek, K., more

    Limited historical and new information on Indian Ocean humpback dolphins, Sousa plumbea, in Pakistan are reviewed. Although present along most of the coast, S. plumbea concentrates in the mangrove-lined creek system of the Indus Delta (Sindh), Miani Hor (Sonmiani Bay), Kalmat Lagoon, Gwadar and the Dasht River estuary (Gwater Bay, Jiwani). Other areas of distribution comprise the Karachi coast, Kund Malir, Ormara and Pasni. In the Indus Delta, 46 small-boat surveys conducted monthly (minus July and October) in 2005–2009, documented 112 sightings (439 individuals) in major creeks, smaller channels and nearshore waters. Group sizes ranged from 1–35 animals (mean = 3.92 ± 4.60). Groups of 1–10 animals composed 91% of total (27.9% single animals). An encounter rate of 0.07–0.17 dolphins km- 1 lacked a significant trend across survey years. A discovery curve remained steep after 87 dolphins were photo-identified, suggesting the population is vastly larger. In Sonmiani Bay, Balochistan, during 9 survey days in 2011–2012, group sizes ranged from 1–68 animals (mean = 11.9 ± 13.59; n = 36), totalling 428 dolphins. Incidental entanglements, primarily in gillnets, pollution (especially around Karachi), overfishing and the ship breaking industry in Gaddani, pose major threats. Incidental catches occur along the entire Pakistani coast. Of 106 stranded cetaceans, 24.5% were S. plumbea. Directed takes in Balochistan, driven by demand for bait in shark fisheries, have reportedly declined following dwindling shark stocks. Habitat degradation threats include depletion of prey and increased maritime traffic. Domestic sewage and solid waste pollution are predominant on the Balochistan coast, especially at Miani Hor, Kund Malir, Ormara, Kalmat Lagoon, Pasni, Gwadar and Jiwani. An exhaustive habitat assessment combined with appropriate fishery management is the only way to safeguard the future of S. plumbea in Pakistan.

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