A note on the use of dolphins as bait in the artisanal fisheries off Bahía Solano, Chocó, Colombia
Avila, Isabel C.
Bastidas, Juan Carlos
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We evaluated dolphin hunting for bait in Bahía Solano, Chocó, Colombia, from July 2005 to April 2006. We interviewed 122 fishermen (18.2% of the registered fishermen in the zone) and obtained data from landings at a fishing company. Only fishermen using longlines (n=94; 37.3%) confirmed using dolphins for bait. One adult dolphin was reported to provide enough bait for two fishing bouts, capturing between 75 kg and 152 kg of fish. We could not obtain additional information about date, specific location or dolphin species, but the most probable captured species are Tursiops truncatus (common bottlenose dolphin) and Stenella attenuata (pantropical spotted dolphin), since these are the most commonly encountered species in coastal waters. A minimum of nine dolphins were reported killed during the study period (1 dolphin/month). Extrapolating these numbers to all fishermen using longlines in the region (250), an absolute minimum of 24 dolphins might have been taken during the study period (2.7 dolphins/month). Presumably many fishermen even while they also took dolphins, did not communicate this to the interviewers, considering dolphins are legally protected in Colombia. Fish species captured with dolphin bait include Brotula clarkae, Cephalopholis acanthistius, Epinephelus cifuentesi, Mustelus lunulatus and Lobotes pacificus.