Rebuttal to published article “A review of ghost gear entanglement amongst marine mammals, reptiles and elasmobranchs” by M. Stelfox, J. Hudgins, and M. Sweet

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Asmutis-Silvia, Regina
Barco, Susan G.
Cole, Tim
Henry, Allison G.
Johnson, Amanda
Knowlton, Amy R.
Landry, Scott
Mattila, David K.
Moore, Michael J.
Robbins, Jooke
van der Hoop, Julie
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We reviewed the findings of the recently published article by Stelfox et al. (2016): “A review of ghost gear entanglement amongst marine mammals, reptiles and elasmobranchs” published in this journal (Volume 111, pp 6–17) and found that they are both flawed and misleading as they do not accurately reflect the prevalence of “ghost gear” cases reported in the literature. While we commend the authors for recognizing the importance of attempting to quantify the threat and for recommending more comprehensive databases, the methods, results and conclusions of this review have not advanced the understanding of the issue. As authors of the papers on whale entanglements in the North Atlantic that were reviewed by Stelfox et al. (2016) and others who are knowledgeable about the topic, we provide specific comments regarding misrepresentations of both the source of entanglement (e.g., actively fished gear versus “ghost gear”) and the number of reported entanglements for whale species included in the North Atlantic.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here under a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license granted to WHOI. It is made available for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Pollution Bulletin 117 (2017): 554-555, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.11.052.
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