The use of dolphins as bait in Latin American small-scale fisheries

Marine mammals are used and killed as fish bait in fisheries throughout the world. A few case studies, including that of the Amazon river dolphin, caution that levels of dolphin take for use as bait can reach unsustainable limits (e.g. Da Silva et al. 2011; 2018, Mintzer et al. 2013, Stensland et al. 2016). Currently, this practice appears to be widespread in Latin America (Mintzer et al. 2018). However, there is limited information on the levels of dolphins taken for this purpose, the impacts of this practice on the dolphin populations, the history and status of the targeted fishery species, and the socio-economical motivators behind the practice of utilizing dolphin bait (Mintzer et al. 2018). With collaborators in multiple countries, we aim to fill the knowledge gaps surrounding the use of dolphins as bait in small-scale fisheries Latin America, with the goal of informing mitigation measures to decrease the killing and use of dolphins for bait. 

As part of this project, we maintain a current database of records (publications, press, personal communications, etc.) indicating the use of dolphins as bait in fisheries throughout the world. If you are familiar with a source of information on the use of dolphins as bait that is not included in Mintzer et al. 2018, please contact us


Project Media Coverage

Fishermen are illegally killing endangered dolphins and seals to use as bait (The Independent, UK)