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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sicilian fishermen shooting dolphins with spear guns and rifles !!!

I was not aware that like special days, there are special months too ~ and March is Dolphin Awareness Month !  While the monthlong effort to raise awareness for these marine mammals is supported by businesses that keep cetaceans in captivity for profit,  it’s still a good occasion to highlight dolphins and to draw attention to their vulnerability to hunting, fishing, capture, and exploitation.

Dolphins are very intelligent aquatic marine mammals.  There are places where they attract huge crowds displaying variety of acts – they are considered very friendly to humans.  There by some accounts, are 43 different species of dolphins that have been recognized. 38 of them are marine dolphins and 5 of them are river dolphins.  They are very entertaining due to the leaps that they make out of the water. Some of them leap up to 30 feet in the air as they do so. They have to come to the surface to for water at different intervals to get air. This can be from 20 seconds to 30 minutes between when they get air. The body of the dolphin is grayish blue and the skin is very sensitive to human touch and to other elements that could be in the water.

Pic credit : www.dolphins-world.com/

Even though dolphins have 100 teeth, they don’t use them for eating. They do use them to get the fish though and then they swallow them. They can consume up to 30 pounds fish per day. They usually work as a team in their pod to get the school of fish surrounded and balled up. From there, they can plow through the middle and eat plenty as they do so.  Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals and are part of the family of toothed whales that includes orcas and pilot whales. They are found worldwide, mostly in shallow seas of the continental shelves.  Dolphins are well known for their agility and playful behavior, making them a favorite of wildlife watchers.

Dolphins live in social groups of five to several hundred. They use echolocation to find prey and often hunt together by surrounding a school of fish, trapping them and taking turns swimming through the school and catching fish. Dolphins can swim at a speed of up to 25 miles per hour for a long time. This is about 3 times faster than the fastest humans in the world.  The average lifespan of a dolphin is 17 years. However, some of them that have been observed in the wild lived about 50 years. A group of dolphins is called a pod.  The bonds of dolphins in a pod are very intense. They have been observed carrying for the sick, the elderly, and those that have been injured with great care.   They are able to see well in the water due to the retina gathering light in a unique way.  The skin of the dolphin is very delicate and it can easily be damaged by contact with other surfaces.

There is news that  world’s largest operator of dolphin parks may open yet another facility — this time in St. Lucia — but many concerned locals, scientists and animal advocates are trying to put a stop to it. Dolphin Discovery owns captive dolphin facilities around the world and offers visitors the opportunity to interact with the marine mammals. Even though to tourists it may seem like a dream to swim with a dolphin, to dolphins it can be quite harmful. Undercover investigators continue to expose the dark side of these tourist programs. Fortunately, the world is continuing to turn against keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, and the tourism industry is taking steps to stop promoting these types of programs. Down under, New Zealand's Maui dolphin, the world's smallest, is headed to extinction after a half-century of lethal encounters with fishermen's nets, says a report of  government-funded scientists detailing  its decline and opposition Labour and Greens call for net bans - which opinion polls show most Kiwis support - the ruling National Party, headed by a fishing magnate, denies there is any problem.

But if you ever thought that dolphins are adored across the globe, you are wrong ~ and read this report in MailOnline .. .. ..

Sicilian fisherman have started shooting dolphins with spear guns and rifles, claiming that the protected species it eating too many fish and destroying their nets. The Italian fishermen have launched a two-day strike over the 'greedy' striped and bottlenose dolphins, claiming they're ruining their livelihood around the Aeolian Islands. Filicudi Wildlife Conservation estimated that there are approximately 100 dolphins in the region. Fishermen say revenues from sales have dropped by 70 per cent in some areas.  An official  of a local fishing cooperative that represents 119 fishing boats, said the fishermen are calling for a state of natural disaster declaration and are seeking compensation from the government.

According to them - 'Every night, there is a war for survival,'  'We must clarify, we don't have anything against dolphins, but a we must find a solution: It's either fishermen or them [dolphins].' The fishermen say that the dolphins have learned to follow their boats and raid their nets of fish. As the dolphins eat up the fish in the area, fishermen are going to extreme measures to get rid of the mammals. There have been increased instances of animals washing up on the beaches having been shot with spear guns ! The battle between fishermen and dolphins is particularly fierce in the Aeolian Islands , an archipelago of volcanic islands in the bay between Sicily and Italy's mainland. As the dolphins eat up the fish in the area, fishermen are going to extreme measures to get rid of the mammals by shooting them with spear guns and rifles.

A  spokeswoman from Filicudi Wildlife Conservation said that the number of dolphins is not any larger than it was 15 years ago. 'The problem is that fish has decreased in the sea and cetaceans swim closer to boats to eat,' she added.  One solution to keep dolphins away from boats is to provide devices with 'pinger' devices, that will emit a frequency that will repel dolphins but not fish. The device will be trialed on some boats in May.

So dolphins too get killed by fishermen who for protecting their commercial interests, are out to kill !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Mar 2017.

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