Local fish populations have been decreasing over the last 60 years. Scientists wanted to analyze the top predator relationship between Bottlenose Dolphins and the Trawlers.
Commercial fishing in the Mediterranean appears to be having a detrimental effect on dolphins; however, the problem is not caused by the fishermen catching the food sources the dolphins eat. Recent studies have been analyzing the gut content of dolphins accidentally caught in the nets and ones that have washed upon the shore to confirm their diets. Fisherman were relieved to find commercial fishing in the Mediterranean does not affect the nutrition of the dolphins.
It has been found that dolphins are swarming around the fisherman boats to eat the smaller schools of fish that cannot be caught in the net. This behavior is causing a decline in the dolphin population, because they accidentally get caught in the nets. On average 8 dolphins die off the coast of Israel each year, about half are accidentally caught in the nets.
The behavioral change in the female dolphins and their young catching food by commercial fishing boats have led scientist to believe they are getting an insufficient amount of nutrients and are having problems finding adequate food sources. The dolphin population have found a relatively stable environment off the coast of Israel, and fishing regulations are being imposed to keep the dolphin population stable.
Is Commercial Fishing Endangering Dolphins?