There are a few species in the wild I find fascinating, aside from lions and wolves, I have a fondness for dolphins, from film and television to aquariums across the world, bottlenose dolphins are the most common in their kingdom and a favorite among their human counterparts, but they offer more to some than mere parlor tricks.Every year, 150 miles south along the coastline of Laguna, Brazil on the small beach of “Tesoura”, fishermen come and stand along the shoreline, their nets at the ready, as a group of wild, bottlenose dolphins appear. The fishermen wait for their signal, a blow breaks the surface, the dolphins wave their dorsal fins and reverse course. The fishermen throw their nets in the water, the dolphins signal with the flap of their tails and charge for the shore, herding schools of fish towards the nets, picking off the fish who manage to escape, sometimes even delicacies that are difficult for them to catch by themselves in the rough waters.
They call it “cooperative fishing”. This phenomenon is quite rare and has been occurring for 120 years. There was reference to it in a 19th century letter. One day, dolphins approached a few fisherman, flashing their dorsal fins and slapping their tails, but being known as net thieves, the fisherman would chase them off.
So, how did they convince the fisherman they could be of use, and who trained who?
No one really knows for sure, but the fishermen in this community catch more fish per hour than any other community along the coastline, and the fish seem to be larger. If the dolphins don’t show, they don’t fish, because it’s been proven unsuccessful.
Dolphins, like people, travel in social groups. They, like the fishermen, pass on their knowledge to the next generation creating quite a partnership beneficial to both sides. They were given names, each has a signature sound to identify themselves to the fishermen and each other. The fishermen recognize them right away, and identify them by name.
They have become protective of these dolphins, it’s an amazing relationship and it speaks volumes about how everything in this world is connected.
For more information on these amazing creatures and the dangers they are facing, please check out the following links: