The project “Towards solutions to interactions between fisheries and cetaceans in Moroccan and Tunisian waters” (the MAVA Depredation project) aims to reduce depredation by bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in small pelagic purse seine fisheries in Morocco and Tunisia. This two-year project (2018-2020) is funded by the MAVA foundation.

    The overall coordination of the project is ensured by the ACCOBAMS and GFCM Secretariats, in collaboration with SPA/RAC for the activities carried out in Tunisia. It is implemented in areas identified by the scientific national partners, namely the National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH) of Morocco and the National Agronomic Institute (INAT) and National Institute of Marine Sciences and Technologies (INSTM) of Tunisia.

    Building upon the pilot actions on cetacean depredation carried-out through the 2015-2018 project “Mitigating the negative interactions between threatened marine species and fishing activities”, the MAVA Depredation project focuses on the priorities identified in the context of the Moroccan pilot action “Dolphin interactions with purse seine sardine fisheries in the Moroccan Mediterranean” and the Tunisian pilot action “Dolphin and seabird interactions with purse seine small-pelagic fisheries in Kelibia”. The continuation of these activities through the MAVA Depredation project aims to ensure a technical follow-up of the monitoring activities and experiments – the reinforced seine and the acoustic repellents – and to improve, in parallel, the understanding of the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins and their interactions with the fisheries, and also with aquaculture in the case of Tunisia.

    The Depredation project objectives are to:

    * obtain a detailed analysis of the interaction between bottlenose dolphins and fisheries/aquaculture;

    *  study the ecological and population dynamics of bottlenose dolphins in relation to fisheries and aquaculture activities;

    * test mitigation technologies, including with exchange of experience with international experts;

    * raise awareness of the fishery sector stakeholders in the conservation of the marine environment, of its species and habitats;

    * assess the long-term sustainability of the small pelagic fisheries in a context of stock reduction and competition for the resource;

    * disseminate information and relevant material, including on lessons learned.


    National Institute of Marine Sciences and Technologies (INSTM)

    Coordinator: Mourad CHERIF

    National Agronomic Institute (INAT)

    Coordinator: Rimel BENMESSAOUD

    National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH)

    Coordinator: Mohammed MALOULI IDRISSI



    In Morocco, the activities are aimed at developing and implementing a cetacean monitoring program in the areas where the interactions between bottlenose dolphins and the purse seine fishery are the most important, namely in the regions of M’Diq and Al Hoceima. A dedicated training workshop on photo-identification and line transect surveys will be organized in 2021 to train INRH teams on the study techniques at sea. A new type of strengthened net will be tested in purse seiners and he depredation and efficiency of the net will be assessed and compared with a “normal” purse seine net through on-board observations and questionnaires at port.


    In Tunisia, the activities are aimed at monitoring the interactions between bottlenose dolphins and purse seine fisheries in the Kelibia area through on-board observations and questionnaires at port. The efficiency of different models of acoustic deterrent devices will be tested. These experiments will be conducted in a fish farm where bottlenose dolphins interact with the cage nets. Passive acoustic monitoring will allow to control the experimental conditions. The same models of pingers will be also tested during fishing operations. A field visit of Tunisian fishers is planned in Morocco to see the strengthened purse seine net and exchange information and experience with Moroccan fishers affected by depredation.


    Technical Assistance

    Experts have been recruited to provide technical support to the Moroccan and Tunisian teams in the development and implementation of their activities, in particular as regards fishing gear technologies, underwater acoustic monitoring and photo-identification/cetacean population monitoring. Exchange of experience between the two teams will be also sought, in particular through the organization of transversal activities.


    Theses comics have been drawn by M. Rohan Chakravarty, Cartoonist & Illustrator (

    They are also available in French, Italian, Maltese and Spanish.

    Should you wish to have them, please contact the ACCOBAMS Secretariat.