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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

Will the Colombian Government ban the import of the dolphin-deadly fish, mota?

Amazon River dolphin above the surface swimming/porpoising This week, Dr Fernando Trujillo representing Fundacion Omacha, WDC’s partner in Colombia, had an important meeting with the Colombian Health Ministry at Government headquarters in Bogota.  Fernando presented information about the cruel, unsustainable and illegal killing of river dolphins (botos) in Brazil for fish bait.  The vast majority of the fish (known as piracatinga in Brazil and mota in Colombia) which is caught using dolphin –deadly methods is exported for consumption in Colombia.  People living in Colombian cities are buying this fish in their local supermarkets without any idea of its origins or the fact that botos are being killed and used as bait to supply it.

piracatinga / mota fish 28 people all working at a senior level in the Colombian Government  heard from Fernando about the shockingly high levels of mercury found in mota – not only are dolphins dying to supply this fish; people eating it are putting their own health at risk.  Mota fish is full of mercury – a highly toxic metal.  Mercury is a by-product from gold mining operations in the Amazon – it enters the food chain and bioaccumulates, reaching dangerous levels in top predators such as river dolphins. Mota is a carnivorous scavenger fish and those eating boto flesh bait are likely to contain the highest levels of mercury in their bodies of all.

Ministers and officials agreed that based on the evidence Fernando presented, they should urgently launch their own investigation into the mercury levels in this fish and look at the danger to human health. Fundacion Omacha and WDC are lobbying the Colombian Government to ban the import of mota into Colombia, currently the biggest market by far.  We are convinced that dramatically reducing the demand for this fish will put pressure on Brazil to ban fishing for it altogether. 

Currently huge amounts of this deadly fish are being imported into Colombia and mislabelled by traders, so that people have absolutely no idea what they are eating.  This is now of huge concern to the Colombian authorities.

 You can learn much more about this appalling hunt for botos and misleading of the Colombian public by watching this film made by Fundacion Omacha and sponsored by WDC.