Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Site of human-dolphin partnership becomes protected area

26.06.2006
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:
http://www.wcs.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland

15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

When electric fields make spins swirl

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery of a cool super-Earth

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>