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Humpback whale playing with kelp

Why do humpback whales wear seaweed wigs?

Alison Wood Ali is WDC's education projects coordinator. She is the editor of Splash! and KIDZONE,...
Japanese whaling ship

WDC in Japan – Part 5: The meaning of whaling

Katrin Matthes Katrin is WDC's communications and campaigns officer for policy & communication in Germany...
Risso's dolphins off the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Unravelling the mysteries of Risso’s dolphins – WDC in action

Nicola Hodgins Nicola is WDC's cetacean science coordinator. She leads our long-term Risso's dolphin research...
Save the whale save the world on a tv in a meeting room.

Saving whales in boardrooms and on boats

Abbie Cheesman Abbie is WDC's head of strategic partnerships. She works with leading businesses to...
Outcomes of COP28

Outcomes for whales and dolphins from COP28

Ed Goodall Ed is WDC's head of intergovernmental engagement. He meets with world leaders to...
Taiji's cove with boats rounding up dolphins to be slaughtered or sold to aquraiums

WDC in Japan – Part 4: A journey to Taiji’s killing cove

Katrin Matthes Katrin is WDC's communications and campaigns officer for policy & communication in Germany...
Blue whale at surface

Creating a safe haven for whales and dolphins in the Southern Ocean

Emma Eastcott Emma is WDC's head of safe seas. She helps ensure whales and dolphins...
We're at COP28 to Save the Whale, Save the World.

We’re at COP28 to save the whale, save the world

Ed Goodall Ed is WDC's head of intergovernmental engagement. He meets with world leaders to...

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.