Blast fishing eyed in dolphin stranding in Lingayen Gulf | Inquirer News

Blast fishing eyed in dolphin stranding in Lingayen Gulf

By: - Correspondent / @yzsoteloINQ
/ 05:04 AM March 24, 2022

Fishermen in Binmaley, Pangasinan. STORY: Blast fishing eyed in dolphin stranding in Lingayen Gulf

HEALTHY GULF Fishermen in Binmaley, Pangasinan, bring a “kalokor” (beach seine) to the shores of Lingayen Gulf in this photo taken on Jan. 30. The gulf, a rich fishing ground where dolphins and whales are frequently sighted, provides livelihood to fishing communities in the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, Philippines — Marine mammal experts have started investigating the cause of what they described as an “unusual” number of dolphins getting stranded in different coastal towns along the Lingayen Gulf recently.

Records from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the Ilocos Region showed that seven short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) had washed ashore between March 15 and March 18.


In an interview on Tuesday, Hasmin Chogsayan, a veterinarian at BFAR, said only one of the beached dolphins was found dead at Barangay Germinal in Bolinao town, Pangasinan province, on March 16.


Four more dolphins were stranded on the same day in Bauang town, La Union province, and in the towns of Lingayen, San Fabian, and Labrador, all in Pangasinan province.

Another dolphin washed up along the shoreline of San Juan, La Union, on March 15.

On March 18, residents of Barangay Bonuan in Dagupan City found another dolphin stuck in shallow water at 5:30 a.m. Villagers and local maritime police released the sea mammal back to the sea at 9 a.m. on the same day.

Chogsayan said the seven dolphins, including the dead marine creature, were “apparently healthy” and their nutritional state was normal based on their physical conditions.

Dr. Lemnuel Aragones, head of the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network (PMMSN), said the dolphins could be victims of blast fishing, an illegal method of catching fish using explosives.

“They probably belonged to a pod of dolphins that scampered everywhere when there was a blast somewhere in the gulf,” Aragones told the Inquirer in a chat message.


He said the dolphins had good body condition when they were washed ashore, which indicated that “something acute or with a fast effect,” such as blasting, had led to their stranding.

Aragones said marine mammals lose their acoustic sensor because of the deafening noise, forcing them to swim straight until they reach the beach and get stranded there.

Residents and the maritime police in Barangay Bonuan, Dagupan City, guide a stranded dolphin return to the sea

RESCUE Residents and the maritime police in Barangay Bonuan, Dagupan City, guide a stranded dolphin return to the sea in this photo taken on March 18. —PHOTO FROM WOW PANGASINAN FACEBOOK PAGE


Residents’ help

Chogsayan said specimens from the ears of the dead dolphin were sent to the marine mammal laboratory at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, to find out if these were damaged, which could confirm if it was a victim of blasting.

“What is good is that the residents and fishermen always send the dolphins back to the sea, as they are already aware of the need to protect them,” she said.

Chogsayan noted that marine mammals usually swim to beaches if they are sick or in pain, “as if looking for help from humans.”

“But they cannot stay at the beach for long or in the same position as water from the waves could enter their blowholes and cause death, “she said.

Records from PMMSN showed that Ilocos and Bicol regions had the highest number of cases of marine mammal stranding from 2019 to 2020, registering 26 incidents.


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9 dolphins beach in La Union, Pangasinan

TAGS: BFAR, Lingayen Gulf

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