Why management decisions involving marine mammals should include animal welfare

Vassili Papastavrou, Russell Leaper, David Lavigne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

10 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract This paper argues the need for consideration of both animal welfare and conservation when making management decisions regarding human activities that affect marine mammals. Population level effects may take a long time to be determined, whereas animal welfare metrics can be observed in the short term, enabling problems to be addressed more rapidly. In addition, implementing current legislation in many countries related to the management of impacts on marine mammals requires animal welfare to be taken into account. Such legislation reflects societal values and public concern for individual animals. Two case studies are discussed. These are: management measures related to incidental killing in commercial fisheries, and injury or disturbance from intense sources of underwater noise from seismic surveys. Both of these threats have welfare and conservation implications for marine mammals. An increased focus on welfare would better reflect societal values including requirements under various legal regimes and could also enable more targeted and effective conservation actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date13 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

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