Marine Biodiversity Records
Gulf of Guinea, Humpback dolphin, Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, Sousa spp., bycatch, stranding, mortality, Guinea
An initial inventory of the dolphins and whales occurring in Guinea’s coastal waters is documented primarily from specimens and photographic evidence obtained from strandings and by-catches. Seven species are fully validated, four odontocetes, Tursiops truncatus, Sousa teuszii, Stenella frontalis, Kogia breviceps and three balaenopterid whales: Balaenoptera brydei, Balaenoptera acutorostrata and Megaptera novaeangliae. Another three reported species (Globicephala macrorhynchus, Steno bredanensis and Delphinus delphis) are insufficiently supported but thought to be valid. Small cetaceans landed as by-catch and a stranded whale were used for human consumption, but no evidence of substantial takes, directed or by-catch, was found. However, concern is raised about even minimal takes of the vulnerable Atlantic humpback dolphin. The seasonal presence of three confirmed humpback whales, two strandings (July and September) and a sighting (October), is synchronous with the species’ southern hemisphere wintering/breeding season in low latitudes. We hypothesize that these whales may comprise the north-westernmost range of the population that breeds/overwinters in coastal waters of the Bight of Benin, northern Gulf of Guinea.