This is the first study in Argentine waters on the abundance of the threatened Franciscana dolphin, Pontoporia blainvillei. During 2003–2004 we carried out 17 aerial surveys using line transect sampling methodology. We observed 101 Franciscanas in 71 sightings. In northern areas density was estimated at 0.106 individual/km2. Density was lower in southern areas (0.055/km2) and declined with depth beyond 30-m isobaths (0.05/km2). A correction factor for submerged dolphins was applied to density and then extrapolated to the strip between the coastline and the 30-m isobath. Abundance in the northern area was estimated at 8,279 (4,904–13,960) individuals, while in the southern area it was estimated at 5,896 (1,928–17,999) individuals. Considering an annual mortality of about 500–800 individuals, about 3.5%–5.6% of the stock may be removed each year by the fishery and over the 2% recommended by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and may not be sustainable by the population. Higher densities in coastal areas make Franciscanas more vulnerable to coastal fishing camps, which increased mortality in recent years. A remarkable finding was that while density decreases to the south, values of catch per unit effort (CPUE) increases, indicating different catchability of dolphins between areas.