The incidental catch of Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) in gillnets in Pegasus Bay and Canterbury Bight, New Zealand is assessed. From 1984 to 1988, at least 230 Hector's dolphins were killed in groundfish gillnets by commercial and amateur fishermen. Approximately 91% of entanglements occurred from November to February. Seasonality of catch corresponded to increased commercial gillnetting inshore in spring and summer. Most entanglements (89%) occurred within 4 nautical miles (7.4 km) of the shore, and most dolphins (86%) were caught in water less than 20 m deep. The dolphin's summer inshore movement also coincided with high levels of inshore gillnetting by amateur fishermen. The age-frequency of net-caught dolphins suggested that young animals were particularly vulnerable to entanglement.