Pingers are effective in reducing net entanglement of river dolphins


Kolipakam, V.

Additional Authors

Merin Jacob, Aaranya Gayathri, Sunny Deori, Hiyashri Sarma, Syeda Tabassum Tasfia, Anurag Rokade, Ranjana Negi, Abdul Wakid & Qamar Qureshi



Volume & Issue

Vol 12, Article number: 9382



Country / Region


Document Type

Peer-reviewed journal article


Ganges River Dolphin

Threat Keywords



Ganges River dolphins echolocate, but this mechanism is inadequate for poor sonar-echoing objects such as  monofilament gillnets, causing considerable net entanglement related mortalities. Net entanglement related deaths are one of the major causes of cetacean population decline around the world. Experiments were carried out to understand the use of pingers—an acoustic deterrent, in aiding the deterrence of dolphins from fishing nets. Based on the dolphin clicks recorded, in an experimental setup spanning 36 days, a 90% deterrence was found; 22.87 ± 0.71 SE dolphin detection positive minutes per hour near non-pingered nets versus 2.20 ± 0.33 SE per hour near pingered net. Within 30 m radii of nets, visual encounters of non-calf reduced by 52% and calf by 9%, in the presence of pingers. No evidence of habituation to pingers, habitat avoidance in dolphins after pinger removal or a change in fish catch in nets because of pingers was found during the study. While the effectiveness of pingers on calves and fish catch needs further experimentation, the use of pingers to minimize net entanglement mortalities in the Ganges River dolphins seems to be the most promising solution currently available. These results have critical implications for the conservation of other species of river dolphins around the world.