Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
How we’re protecting whales and dolphins across borders

How we’re protecting whales and dolphins across borders

It’s all very well individual nations putting their own conservation plans into action, but what...
How we’re tackling whaling in Norway

How we’re tackling whaling in Norway

We’re helping to spearhead a campaign – supported by an international coalition of almost 40...
Cutting it with citizen science – following a whale from the Caribbean to the Arctic via Scotland

Cutting it with citizen science – following a whale from the Caribbean to the Arctic via Scotland

Steve Truluck is a whale watching guide and skipper for Hebridean Whale Cruises, Gairloch, Scotland....
Conservation in action – working on an international stage to protect whales and dolphins

Conservation in action – working on an international stage to protect whales and dolphins

Unlike us humans, whales, dolphins and porpoises don’t entertain the concept of borders. For them...
Hope springs eternal for an end to whaling in Iceland

Hope springs eternal for an end to whaling in Iceland

As January morphs into February, my pleasure at the prospect of lengthening days and the...
The pingers and the porpoise – preventing deaths in fishing nets in Cornwall

The pingers and the porpoise – preventing deaths in fishing nets in Cornwall

When a porpoise or dolphin swims into a fishing net, rope or line, they can...
Putting whale and dolphin welfare on the agenda

Putting whale and dolphin welfare on the agenda

Every whale and dolphin is important. You know that, but in the past, conservationists have...
Christmas…how to get it wrapped without plastic

Christmas…how to get it wrapped without plastic

It’s that time of year again when there’s only one thing on most people’s minds...

Why Do Some Dolphins Throw Fish Around?

As the North East Scotland population of dolphins are reckoned to be amongst the biggest and fattest of their species – they really need to find good food just about every day to help maintain their insulation layer and keep the cold out in the chilly waters around here. Now that the main salmon hunting season is here, I often get asked why dolphins sometimes throw salmon around and people wonder if they are “playing” with the fish. Dolphins need to feel that the fish that they are trying to swallow fit properly and comfortably down the throat without hindrance or obstacles otherwise the fish could become jammed or lodged there.

 photo Salmon Capture.jpg

Some dolphins eject fish to re-swallow more than others – Zephyr, in the photo above is very fussy about how the fish is positioned so she does this a lot. A lot of smaller fish that dolphins catch are swallowed quickly underwater – it’s only the bigger prey that we tend to see getting this sort of treatment. The dolphin has to be careful though as too much rough treatment could end up breaking the fish in half, which would expose sharp bones that could be a real problem. So the dolphins are not really playing as such, just making sure that it’s safe to eat. With the main migratory salmon run now underway I hope to see all six of the adopt a dolphin individuals engaging in this activity many times over the summer. Why not support us by adopting a dolphin? http://uk.whales.org/adoptions/dolphins

Charlie Phillips

About Charlie Phillips

Field officer - Adopt a Dolphin