The Dolphin Alliance

6 05 2012

Humans may be the smartest animals on the land, but who claims that title for the sea? Bottlenose Dolphins have been working together for centuries, hunting, raising young, and playing. The question then becomes can they interact with humans?

A group of fishermen in Laguna, Brazil have been fishing in their local bays for years, and so have bottlenose dolphins. The water in the shallow areas is murky, making fishing a slow daunting process for the fishers. On the other hand, murky water has no effect on the echolocation of the dolphins, but the mullet fish are fast and confusing in their schools. Over many years an alliance has formed between these two groups benefiting both parties.  The dolphins herd the mullet close to the fishermen, and then signal to the men to cast their nets. The fishermen catch for more fish, and those that were not captured are without the protection of their school.

It is hard to tell to what extent the dolphins understand what it is they are doing; do they know what the humans are doing? Or do they associate signalling with a slap of the tail or head, with making a net fall out of the sky and a good meal? The dolphin’s signaling, though, shows which direction the fish are traveling, and where the net should be thrown. This indicates the possibility of a higher understanding than previously thought.

The fishermen have been working alongside the dolphins for years, and have individually named each one. Interestingly though, only half of the dolphins in the area participate in the fishing with the humans. For the Brazilians, dolphins may be man’s new best friend.




2 responses

13 05 2012
Ardianto P. B. (@ardiantopb)

A great article. I hope I can see more pictures about dolphin.
Dolphin is a smart and friendly creatures. Try to make friend to one of them and you will surprise that they can know and impress you with their beauty.

21 05 2012

I find this evidence that dolphins have formed a mutually beneficial relationship with fishermen fascinating! Nice article about this development!

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