Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Site of human-dolphin partnership becomes protected area

Irrawaddy dolphins benefit from protection by Myanmar government

The government of Myanmar has established a protected area for, of all things, a partnership between fishermen and a small, gray beakless dolphin with a knack for herding fish into nets, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Specifically, some 70 kilometers of the Ayeyarwady River have been protected to safeguard the cooperative fishery. It also supports one third of the river's population of Irrawaddy dolphins, a species that is threatened throughout much of its coastal and freshwater range.

"This is a big step forward toward saving this cetacean in the Ayeyarwady River and the fishery that benefits both humans and dolphins," said WCS researcher Brian D. Smith, who has conducted research on the species in the region for several years. "Balancing the protection of a critically endangered wildlife population with local livelihoods and preservation of a unique cultural tradition is a win-win situation for all."

The fascinating partnership involves fishermen summoning the dolphins to voluntarily herd schools of fish toward the boats and awaiting nets. With the aid of the river-dwelling dolphins, the fishermen can increase the size of their catches by threefold, and the dolphins appear to benefit by more easily preying on the cornered fish in both nets and on the muddy banks of the river.

The Irrawaddy dolphin grows to some 2 to 2.5 meters in length (6.5 to 8 feet) and frequents the coasts, estuaries, and freshwater lagoons of Southeast Asia. It is threatened throughout its range by incidental catches and in several areas by habitat degradation.

The dolphin population in the Ayeyarwady River is one of the most threatened, specifically by electrocution from illegal electric fishing and entanglement in gill nets, and from mercury poisoning and habitat loss from gold mining operations in the river. Recent surveys of the river conducted by the Department of Fisheries and WCS found that the species range had declined by some 60 percent, and that only 59 to 72 individuals remained in a region some 1000 kilometers from the sea. In response to these findings, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) designated the population as "critically endangered."

The new protected area will boost awareness about the Irrawaddy dolphin and its unique role in the river's livelihoods, as well as enforce the prohibition of electric fishing, gold mining, and other threats, and initiate a systematic monitoring program for the species. Another positive development is a recent ban on gold mining in the Ayeyarwady and a recent survey conducted by WCS and the Myanmar Department of Fisheries found that the ban had been 100% effective on eliminating this threat from the river.

"If the protected area proves successful at conserving dolphins and enhancing the livelihoods of local fishermen, it could be used as a model for extending similar protection to other river segments," added U Mya Than Tun, Senior Scientist with the Myanmar Department of Fisheries.

John Delaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>