BFAR: Dynamite fishing may have killed two rescued dolphins

By JENETTE FARIOLA-RUEDAS, ABS-CBN Tacloban

Posted at Mar 03 2009 07:31 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2009 03:31 AM

TACLOBAN CITY - Dynamite fishing may have been the cause of death of two Risso's dolphins previously rescued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Samar, bureau officials said.

According to initial investigation, the two Risso's dolphins which died over the weekend while being treated at the BFAR regional office, might have been victims of explosions.

"We have found out that they might have been victims of dynamite fishing. The lymphanic bone that housed the inner ear was destroyed due to the explosion under the water," BFAR regional director Juan Albaladejo said, after a necropsy was reportedly conducted on the animals. One of the dolphins died Saturday, while the other died Sunday.

The two animals were earlier found stranded, visibly weak and with scratches and lacerations on their body, along the shoreline of San Sebastian.

Albaladejo said that before the dolphins died, they showed signs of loss of buoyancy and echo-location or biosonar, which is their ability to sense objects in their environment by hearing echoes from objects.

Albaladejo said this may be why the dolphins were seen swimming aimlessly for almost a week in Maqueda Bay, Samar.

Albaladejo said that they will send dolphin tissue samples to the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute in Diliman in Quezon CIty and Ocean Adventure in Subic Bay to confirm their findings.

Albaladejo appealed to the public for help in caring for the animals. "They should report to our agency immediately if there are sightings of these, especially if they found them weak so that they will be given treatment," he said.

According to the US National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Protected Resources, Risso's dolphins which are sometimes called "gray dolphins" have been directly hunted for meat and oil in parts of Asia causing declines in their population. Small numbers of Risso's dolphins have also been captured from the wild for display in aquariums and ocean parks.