Choose your language:

The Franciscana (also known as La Plata River Dolphin) is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to fishing-related mortality at levels believed to be unsustainable. The expansion of gillnet fisheries within the species’ home range is predicted to accelerate the population's decline.

The Franciscana CMP was adopted by the IWC in 2016, and was the first CMP endorsed for a small cetacean species.  Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are signatories to the CMP and Argentina was appointed co-ordinator in 2017.    The overall aim of the CMP is to protect Franciscana habitat and minimise anthropogenic threats, particularly by-catch.

Progress to date:  a Co-ordinator and Steering Committee have been appointed and priority work areas identified (see below).  Activities are now underway to reduce bycatch and research population structure and acoustics. 

Priority work areas

  • Continuing to investigate population structure.
  • Monitoring abundance, trends, and bycatch.
  • Mitigating bycatch.
  • Developing or implementing protected areas.
  • Encouraging the implementation of the National Action Plan to reduce the interactions of marine mammals with fisheries in Argentina.
  • Developing a strategy to increase public awareness of the Franciscana (see below).
  • Including the Franciscana in bilateral and multilateral discussions.
Information Campaign 'Our Neighbour the Franciscana'

From the outset, an information campaign was considered a fundamental component of the CMP.  The campaign focuses on coastal communities in all three range states (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay).  It explains that these communities share their coastline with the franciscana and that it faces serious conservation challenges which they can help to tackle.

Outreach material includes interactive webpages, and infographics, videos and posters available in English and Spanish,  The campaign was launched at the IWC Meeting in October 2022.  Click to watch the campaign video in English and Spanish.

Click for the Our Neighbour the Franciscana webpages.


Click here to read about a research programme, supported by the IWC Small Cetaceans Voluntary Fund, which is working to improve abundance estimates for Franciscana, in order to guide conservation actions.

Read the original proposal for a Conservation Management Plan for franciscana dolphins, endorsed by the Commission in 2016.