Assisting Ms Jacinta Jonathan to complete her postgraduate studies at University Papua New Guinea, and report results back to Kikori communities

By-catch of inshore dolphins in Kikori Delta subsistence gillnet fisheries was previously known to occur based on field trips to estimate dolphin abundance conducted by James Cook University researchers in 2013 and 2015.

A further field trip in 2019 discovered that inshore dolphin by-catch levels had increased significantly resulting from a newly developed fishery targeting large fish swim-bladders for Chinese medicine.

Ms Jonathan conducted her UPNG Honors fieldwork during 2019-2020 investigating Kikori fisheries and marine mammal by-catch levels. She discovered that both snubfin and humpback dolphins are under threat of local extinction in the Kikori Delta.

The Potential Biological Removal was calculated as one dolphin of each species every 3-4 years. However, during recent field trips to the Delta, Ms. Jonathan uncovered by-catch rates of at least 3-4 dolphins/month. A Kikori fisher can obtain at least PGK1000 (USD$300) from one good quality swim-bladder. This equates to more than a month’s salary, resulting in a fishery that is very difficult to manage.

This project will assist Ms Jonathan to complete her postgraduate degree at University Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions during 2020 her studies were significantly disrupted and she could not complete her program as expected.

This project will also enable Ms Jonathan to report her fieldwork results back to the Kikori community, in collaboration with the Piku Biodiversity Network.

Ms Jacinta Jonathan and SDCP would like to sincerely thank the Marine Conservation Fund for their support of this project.

Project funded by