dolphins aid Brazilian fishermen

Dolphins Assist in Fishing off Brazil’s Coast

150-year-old tradition in Brazil of dolphins aiding fishermen

An unusual cooperative relationship between dolphins and fishermen in Brazil shows the amazing ability of humans and animals to cooperate toward mutually beneficial ends.

For 150 years, fishers in southeastern Brazil have relied on wild bottlenose dolphins to drive fish into their nets.

Dolphins are marine mammals known to be very intelligent creatures.

The longstanding practice has fishermen standing in shallow coastal waters waiting for schools of mullet to approach.

In a carefully orchestrated routine, the dolphins swim in toward the coast, driving schools of fish toward the waiting fishermen.

dolphins help Brazilian fishermen
Photo source: Smithsonian Mag

Using a signal known by the fishermen, the dolphins do a deep dive, scattering the fish schools toward the fishers. Right on cue, the fishermen throw their nets, hauling in the fish.

Researchers have learned that the dolphins emit clicks as the fishermen cast their nets, signaling that the dolphins are going in to catch some of the scattered and isolated fish. The dolphins even pull a few fish right out of the fishers’ nets.

Although this cooperative relationship benefits both dolphins and fishers, some modern fishermen are taking up methods that pose more risks to dolphins.

You can watch a video of the astounding process here:

Additional Sources: The Wildlife Society

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