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Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
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...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

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.