Annotated checklist and fisheries interactions of cetaceans in Togo, with evidence of Antarctic minke whale in the Gulf of Guinea
© 2012 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd, ISZS and IOZ/CAS
- Accepted manuscript online: 29 OCT 2012 06:03AM EST
- Cited By
- gulf of guinea;
Nine cetacean species, including six odontocetes and three mysticetes, are documented (photos, specimens) to occur in Togo's coastal waters based on strandings and captures (newly recorded species with asterisk): Antarctic minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis*, Bryde's whale B. brydei/edeni, humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae, sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps*, short-finned pilot whale Globicephala macrorhynchus*, pantropical spotted dolphin Stenella attenuata*, common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus*, and common dolphin Delphinus sp.* An anecdotal sighting record for killer whale Orcinus orca is considered reliable. The lack of Sousa teuszii records in Togo is consistent with its apparent contemporaneous absence in Ghana. The B. bonaerensis specimen, entangled in a purse-seine set on small-pelagics, is a first record for the Gulf of Guinea. The occurrence of this Southern Ocean species north of the equator underscores the severe gaps in our understanding of cetacean distribution off western Africa. The majority of artisanal fishermen operating in Togolese coastal waters are of Ghanaian origin and are thought to promote trade and consumption of cetacean bushmeat. Because captures are illegal, enforced with some success in the main fishing centres, covert landings of cetaceans are exceedingly difficult to monitor, quantify or sample. Concern is expressed about pollution of Togo's coastal waters with heavy metals due to phosphorites mining and export from the coastal basin near Hahotoé and Kpogamé.