Dead dolphin found with puncture wound to head

A dolphin with a puncture wound to the head was found dead and stranded on Hoadedhdhoo Island in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll yesterday morning (July 17).

In the early morning hours of Tuesday a Hoadedhdhoo resident discovered the dead dolphin on the west side of the island – which faces away from the interior of the atoll towards the open sea.

The dolphin showed no signs of life, but had sustained a visible puncture wound which was bleeding onto the hard, flat coral that surrounds the island like a buffer.

“I think fishing boat people injured it because its head was bleeding. The dolphin looked like its head had a puncture from a fishing hook,” a Hoadedhdhoo government official told Minivan News today (July 17) on condition of anonymity.

This incident could be a potential issue for the Maldives’ fishing industry, which is known for its environmentally sustainable pole and line method, where no nets are allowed, preventing bycatch which makes it ‘dolphin safe’.

The source said he believed the dolphin must have died recently because there was no foul odor coming from the body at the time it was discovered.

A white object in the dolphin’s mouth was a piece of coral probably put there by small children that had been playing near the body, the source explained.

The source noted that “not a lot” of fishing boats are seen off the coast of Hoadedhdhoo. However, large pods of dolphins have been observed in the channel slightly north of Hoadedhdhoo.

About five or six years ago a small dolphin was found dead on the same side of the island, however it did not appear to have sustained any injuries, another Hoadedhdhoo resident told Minivan News on condition of anonymity.

Dolphins essential for Maldives’ ecosystem

Following the reported incident, Minivan News contacted the Maldives Marine Research Centre (MRC) to determine the species and age of the dead dolphin.

“From the characteristics of its body shape and erect dorsal fin, it appears to be a common spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris). They can be easily identified by a long slender beak with a black tip and black lips, while their bodies are mainly grey with three toned coloration,” MRC Assistant Research Officer Mariam Shidha told Minivan News today.

While it was difficult to determine the exact size of the deceased dolphin based on the photographs, it is “most likely to be an adult”, since adults range between 1.8 – 2.1 meters in size, while they mature at the size of 1.5 – 1.7 meters, explained Shidha.

“Dolphins are important to our ecosystem because they are apex (top level) predators which control the populations of fishes and squids to keep it all balanced,” Shidha emphasised.

She explained that stranding of cetacean species – a such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises – “do not happen that often” in Maldivian waters; at most two to three per year are reported.

“[Moreover,] in the Maldives its a very rare thing for a dolphin to be injured by a fishermen since they are not a bycatch of pole and line fisheries,” she said. “However, in the Pacific Ocean, fishermen sometimes purposefully catch dolphins as they use other [unsustainable] fishing methods in order to get to the yellowfin tunas that swim underneath dolphins.”

“The MRC has had no reports of such deliberate acts of abuse or harm to dolphins [in the Maldives],” said Shidha. However, any incidents of people harming dolphins or strandings should be reported to the MRC.

All dolphins and whales are protected under the Maldivian Law and almost all the species of dolphins found in Maldivian waters are listed in the IUCN’s red list of threatened species, noted Shidha.

The MRC is working to raise awareness about why dolphins are essential for the environment in the Maldives.

“We are educating the public on the importance of protecting these charismatic fauna which are so important for the functioning of the ecosystem,” emphasised Shidha. “Also we have held a Cetacean Symposium and outreach programs for school children.”

Fisheries Ministry

“When we find a [stranded] dolphin it’s important to know how it happened. However, I don’t know how we can investigate [in this case],” Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Ahmed Shafeeu told Minivan News today.

“The type of pole and line fishing we have [in the Maldives] is done in a way that doesn’t harm dolphins,” said Shafeeu. “We have not had reports of dolphins being caught, it’s very unlikely.”

“Although an accident or something can happen, in that case the dolphin should be released immediately,” he emphasised. “Catching dolphins in any way [intentional or unintentional] is not allowed by law.”

“Sometimes dolphins are found washed up on the shore [of an island]. In those cases the incident should be reported to the local island council,” explained Shafeeu. “[But] there is no specific regulation that requires island councils to report to national offices if an animal is found.”

“However, if there are concerns of malpractice or someone is known to be deliberately hurting an animal, then it should be reported [to the relevant authorities beyond the island level],” he added.

‘Dolphin safe’

Environmentally-friendly, sustainable pole and line fishing allows Maldives’ tuna to be certified as ‘dolphin safe’, enabling it to be sold as a “premium” product for the European and US markets.

The ‘dolphin safe’ certification is provided by the Earth Island Institute (EII), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Earlier this year EII Associate Director Mark Berman explained to Minivan News that EII’s ‘dolphin safe’ policy requires that “no tuna company will deal in sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales, or their products. All efforts to minimise bycatch of these species is mandatory”.

A November 3, 2011 EII press statement read, “the Maldives tuna industry has adopted a policy to ensure that no dolphins are ever killed in tuna nets.”

“That Dolphin Safe standard is respected all over the world”, Dolphin Safe program Associate Director Mark Berman told Minivan News at the time. “Major tuna importing nations will not buy tuna from governments that harm dolphins.”

According to the EII website, the companies licensed with the dolphin-safe label must meet the following criteria:

  • No intentional chasing, netting or encirclement of dolphins during an entire tuna fishing trip;
  • No use of drift gill nets to catch tuna;
  • No accidental killing or serious injury to any dolphins during net sets;
  • No mixing of dolphin-safe and dolphin-deadly tuna in individual boat wells (for accidental kill of dolphins), or in processing or storage facilities;
  • Each trip in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) by vessels 400 gross tons and above must have an independent observer on board attesting to the compliance with points (1) through (4) above

16 thoughts on “Dead dolphin found with puncture wound to head”

  1. see how mad and bloodthirsty these kuffar are? Not content with doing violence against Muslims, even during the holy month of ramadan, they now target God's creatures to show contempt for the creator of all beings. May Allah (swt) save us from Nasheed's monstrous goons.

  2. What are u trying to achieve here Minivan? i don't understand what u will gain by trying so hard to destroy our already fragile economy!

    We feel sorry for the dead dolphin.. The poor dolphin might have been injured by an accident.. also this is an extremely rare case..

    but how could u guys come up with assumptions and say "This incident could be a potential issue for the Maldives’ fishing industry"?

    Independent news.. my foot..

  3. and yeah please find below comment by EII Associate Director Mark Berman on a similar article by Minivan news last april..

    Mark Berman on Thu, 4th Apr 2013 8:18 PM

    Dear Editor,

    I must clarify that I did not make any
    threat to the tuna industry dolphin safe certification. Earth Island WILL NOT at all change this certificate for any Maldives tuna. Your title of the article did not correctly describe the problem at all.

    We agreed to comment only because we want to asssit in solving the problem, NOT inflame this further.

    Maldives Tuna companies and govt. are
    long time partners over 20 years with
    Earth Island Institute. We will work with the industry and the Fisheries Ministry to utilize public awareness and education and find alternatives to stop the demand for the sea turtle products.

    The Tourism Ministry can assist by having the resorts educate their customers in the same manner that this endangered species protected under CITES. Earth Island will also work with ECOCARE on a plan of action.


    Mark Berman

  4. Dolphins are intelligent creatures and like all intelligent living things, indulge in homosexual activity. A mullah (possibly Mr Being aka Captain Ahab) probably discovered that this unholy act was being carried out in the pure waters of Dhivehistan and made it his life mission to kill all sodomite dolphins. Meanwhile, those hell-destined secular Hindustanis who recently legalised gay sex, are now protecting cetaceans.

  5. for a dolphin case, all organizations and govt has responded... for death of a person, no one responds... not to even say ' no comment ',.....something is sickly wrong with us

  6. Nice how you have linked a dead dolphin to the fishing industry! good journalism to link a dead dolphin to the fishing industry out of no where

  7. Minivan editors are now becoming more and more like our parliament. Weaving threads and concoctions without any basis, just to pass time or not to nominated as the least spoken parliament member. Usually what comes out is pure bullshid.

  8. Killing an innocent vulnerable animal would not be such big issue for people who still live in the middle age following Bedouin culture. How can it be an issue when they can kill their own kind apostate from Islam?

    How nice it would have been that our ancestors have not encountered the Arab from Middle East and our forefathers were left to practice their peaceful religion Buddhism.

  9. This show how " Independent " Minivan News is?

    Nasheed will never hesitate to do anything to ruin this country .

    We will never vote for this idiot and you will see him losing the election on 7th Sept.

  10. At least the dolphin is getting some sympathy
    Where as the sprit of Minivan news seems certainly dead

  11. When dead dolphins and dead people become the instrument of those people who make a living out of 'promoting' human rights, one wonders who is actually behind the killing

  12. Why is this even news? Next you will post the headline " Dead Tuna Found in Fish Market"?

  13. Minivan started a slow death the day it got infested by a bunch of brainless kuffar who contributing nothing to dialogue except insults to islam.

  14. Nice, you manage to link Islam to the death of a dolphin. I'm impressed.

    You want to see the truth about "dolphin rape cave"

    They're homosexual rapists!!!

  15. Thank you Minivan News for reporting well
    on this issue regarding dolphins and their
    protection by the Maldives government and citizens.

    Earth Island Institute has been a partner with the tuna fishery of the Maldives for over 20 years and very proud of the dolphin safe and sustainable status of
    the industry.

    Dolphins deserve protection and freedom in the wild. Maldives still has a reputation for dolphins being free in the ocean and not in any circus, pen, or other captive environment. Maldives should be proud of the fact that it protects marine mammals and the fisheries that the country depends.
    Mark Berman
    Earth Island Institute

  16. I laughed when these wannabe-arab thugs try so hard to slander minivannews. There's no pleasing these guys at all. You report on politics and they call you kuffar and call for your head. Your report on non-politics and they call you kuffar and call for your head.

    I say just shoot them, and mail their ashes to tora bora so they'll never have a decent burial.


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