Freshwater cetaceans (river dolphins and porpoises) inhabit eight Asian countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. The four Asian river cetacean species living here face similar challenges from fisheries practices: bycatch is the highest cause of direct river dolphin mortality, besides the effects of water infrastructure, water quality issues and habitat destruction.
During three days in October 2022, government representatives, cetacean experts and fishery experts from all eight Asian river dolphin countries gathered, some joining virtually, with the objective to discuss how to best tackle this threat, reducing river cetacean mortality and seeking more sustainable fishery practices for people and nature.
The details of the discussions are written down in this report. As the final conclusion, all participants agreed to the ‘Islamabad Recommendations’: develop together a fishery-focused, river dolphin Conservation Management Plan under the International Whaling Commission for Asia. At least five governments actively participate in this development: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan.