Ministry Concerned About Capture and Sale of Small Dolphins

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Dolphin Fish also known as Maui-Maui.??(FAO)
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The Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management is concerned about the capture, landing and sale of large numbers of very small dolphins (Coryphaena hippurus commonly called the dolphinfish) in Barbados in recent weeks.

According to an official of the Division, the two to six-pound small animals are juveniles, which, if not harvested, will grow into adults, some over 10 pounds. These adults will be available for harvest in local waters during the coming fishing seasons.

He maintained that the capture of the young of any species before they have had the opportunity to grow and reproduce can seriously reduce the number of recruits for the succeeding generation and even impair the population or stock’s sustainability in the long-term.

Therefore, the present sustained capture of large quantities of immature dolphins will result in fewer adults being available for the coming season and a possibly less bountiful catch. Furthermore, this may impair the stock’s ability to replenish itself in the years to come.

"These immature animals are sheltering and feeding in the large drifts of the floating Sargassum seaweed that are currently inundating our coasts. It appears that these young dolphins are merely following the drifting Sargassum, away from their normal offshore migratory routes, towards our shores where they are at an increased risk of capture," he said.

Fishers are, therefore, strongly urged to desist from fishing these juvenile dolphins and allow them to grow into adults for the coming fishing seasons.

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

Author: Fisheries Department/Andre Skeete
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