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Battery fishing rise in Myanmar threatens unique dolphin cooperation by Aye Sapay Phyu August 06,2012   |  Source: Myanmar Times

The unique practice of cooperative fishing between Irrawaddy dolphins and fishermen in Mandalay Region is under threat because of electric fishing, sources said last week.

Groups of electric fishing boats can be found in a 74-kilometre-long dolphin protected area, and conservation officials say they are unable to stop the practice because the fishermen are armed and travel in large groups.

Ko Wira, a filmmaker who is making a documentary film about Irrawaddy dolphins, said the number of boats rigged to use electricity to catch fish had “significantly increased” in the conservation area when he visited in May.

“There were 30-40 electric fishing boats even in the conservation area,” he told The Myanmar Times. “It was like a festival at night with the light from the electric fishing boats. We heard the sound of generators from them … we could even see the fishermen who were using electric fishing equipment during day time,” he said.

The filmmaker said the behaviour of the dolphins had changed noticeably in the past two-and-a-half years, which he attributed to their fear of electric fishing boats.

“We saw Irrawaddy dolphins and also cooperative fishing during our first trip in January 2010, and on only two of our 27 days we didn’t see a single

Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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