WWF-Pakistan trained fishermen rescue Indo-pacific humpback dolphin
Posted on 18 March 2015

Karachi, Fishermen rescued an Indo-pacific humpback dolphin in coastal waters, in Sonmiani, Balochistan, on Tuesday. Two fishermen trained by WWF-Pakistan and the Sonmiani Development Organization, Naseer Ahmad and Tahseen, while fishing in Sonmiani noticed a dolphin which was beached on the sandy shore. They abandoned their fishing trip and rescued the 5.5 feet long dolphin. After releasing it into waters they remained in the area for about one hour and ensured that the dolphin swam into offshore waters.

Sonmiani Development Organization has implemented a project titled Marine Dolphin Conservation through Community Education and Capacity Building, funded by Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong. Under this project a number of fishermen have been trained to rescue entangled dolphins and other endangered marine animals. WWF-Pakistan provided support in implementation of the project and assistance in the training programme. The Indo-pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is a coastal species found in shallow waters along the coast as well as in creek systems and lagoons. It is a near threatened species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.


As a result of trainings the two fishermen rescued the entrapped dolphin, which was successfully returned to sea at approximately 5:30 PM. According to Master Abdul Rasheed, Coordinator of Sonmiani Development Organization, about 30 fishermen have been trained to rescue dolphins and other endangered marine species. They have also been trained to collect information about the population of dolphins residing in the coastal area. Rasheed added that the study carried out with the assistance of WWF-Pakistan has revealed that about 80 dolphins reside in the Miani Hor lagoon whereas a similar population exists in the coastal waters of Sonmaini Bay.

The fishermen and communities of the coastal area of Miani Hor have been made educated about the importance and conservation of dolphins, whales and turtles and attempt to release such species safely if found entrapped. Abdul Qayyum, Secretary of the Coastal Association for Research and Development (CARD), a local CBO in the area, lauded the efforts of the fishermen in rescuing the dolphin and considered it a positive step towards conservation of the marine environment by the community. While, Kalimullah Mirbahar, representative of Balochistan Mahigiri Network considered the fishermen of the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan “conservationists” by nature who strive hard to save protected species.

According to Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Advisor (Marine Fisheries) of WWF-Pakistan the Indo-pacific humpback dolphin is facing serious threats in Pakistan due to degradation of habitat, pollution and entanglement in fishing nets. Previously, a resident population of the dolphin was found within Karachi Port but is no longer present in the area. He added that the rescue of dolphins is a result of untiring efforts of conservation organizations including WWF-Pakistan and local CBOs working in the coastal areas.

In March 2009, about 250 pantropical spotted dolphins were beached in Gaddani and WWF-Pakistan’s staff with the help of coastal communities struggled to release almost all of them safely back into the waters. On 16 February, 2015, an observer working for WWF-Pakistan residing in Kakapir village, rescued an Arabian common dolphin (Delphinus capensis tropicalis) in Sandspit. - See more at:

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