Entanglements of large cetaceans with fishing gears were only recorded four times in Peru before 1995, despite the intensive use of gill nets and longlines. This work compiles recent events of large cetacean entanglement in Peru, from direct observations, local news, and online graphical evidence. A total of 15 confirmed entanglements was recorded between 1995 and 2012, involving humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae (n = 10); sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus (n = 3); an Antarctic minke whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis; and an unidentified balaenopterid. Gill nets were involved in 80% of the entanglements, followed by longlines. Prevalence of humpback whale entanglements may be associated with the neritic location of the majority of gill net fishing sets, interfering with the whale's migratory routes and reproductive habitat in northern Peru. Intensive use of gill nets and increasing use of longlines in artisanal fisheries represent serious threats to conservation of large cetaceans in Peru and the Southeast Pacific and need to be addressed by national and regional conservation authorities.
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Vol. 67 • No. 4