Phocoena spinipinnis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Phocoenidae

Scientific Name: Phocoena spinipinnis Burmeister, 1865
Common Name(s):
English Burmeister's Porpoise
French Marsouin De Burmeister
Spanish Marsopa Espinosa

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K.A., Karkzmarski, L., Kasuya, T., Perrin, W.F., Scott, M.D., Wang, J.Y. , Wells, R.S. & Wilson, B.
Reviewer(s): Rojas-Bracho, L. & Smith, B.D.
Despite the existence of substantial bycatches and directed takes, the lack of information on abundance and trends precludes an assessment of extinction risk. It is therefore listed as Data Deficient.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Burmeister's Porpoises are distributed in shallow, coastal waters of South America, from southern Brazil (about 28°48’S), south to Cape Horn in Tierra del Fuego, and thence north to northern Peru (to about 5°01’S) (Brownell and Clapham 1999). It is unclear whether the distribution is continuous between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The map shows where the species may occur, based on oceanography. The species has not been recorded for all the states within the hypothetical range as shown on the map. States for which confirmed records of the species exist are included in the list of native range states.
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Peru; Uruguay
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southwest; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no estimates of abundance or trends. Burmeister's Porpoises are very difficult to detect in any but calm conditions, which may explain the rarity of field observations (Brownell and Clapham 1999).

Recent genetic studies have indicated that porpoises in Peru form separate subpopulations from those in southern Chile and in Argentina. The possibility of multiple subpopulations in Peruvian waters is also considered likely (Rosa et al. 2005). Some evidence suggests that the Burmeister’s Porpoises in the Pacific and Atlantic belong to separate subpopulations (Corcuera et al. 1995).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is essentially a coastal species, which sometimes frequents inshore bays, channels, and fjords of Tierra del Fuego, and is occasionally observed inside the kelp line. It is typically found shoreward of the 60-m isobath, but occasionally has been recorded in up to 1,000 m of water (Brownell and Clapham 1999). There have also been records from more offshore waters, 50 km from the coast of Argentina.

Feeding is on demersal and pelagic fish species, such as anchovies and hake, as well as various squid and shrimps (Goodall et al. 1995).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is harvested and used as crab bait in Chile.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is widely known that Burmeister's Porpoises are shot or harpooned for use as crab bait in southern Chile. However, because quantitative data are lacking, the extent of this problem is unknown.

The most extensive known takes occur in Peruvian waters, where Burmeister's Porpoise is bycaught primarily in net fisheries, and where it has been used extensively for human consumption. Mortality in Peru was recently estimated as >450 per year and the high mortality is cause for concern (Van Waerebeek et al. 1997, Brownell and Clapham 1999). In southern Chile, porpoises may be killed directly by harpooning (Brownell and Clapham 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is in Appendix II of CITES.

Better documentation of catches and new approaches to dealing with porpoise/gillnet interaction problems are clearly needed, in order to enable an assessment of the effects and suggest mitigation measures in the case of Burmeister's Porpoise.

Citation: Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K.A., Karkzmarski, L., Kasuya, T., Perrin, W.F., Scott, M.D., Wang, J.Y. , Wells, R.S. & Wilson, B. 2012. Phocoena spinipinnis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T17029A17117957. . Downloaded on 19 August 2018.
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