Why Are Dolphins Hunted And Killed?

Over the years various members of the dolphin species have been hunted and killed in order to lower competition with fisherman, be used as crab bait and be sold as food at restaurants and supermarkets.

They have also been killed due to excessive pollution, the construction of dams and accidental catches in fishing nets.

Although the act of hunting and killing dolphins is considered illegal throughout most of the world there are still places that are known to hunt and kill these marine mammals for various reasons.

To bring more clarity to this topic we have compiled some of the most common reasons why dolphins are killed and will explore these reasons in more detail below.


In certain areas and coastal waters fishermen find themselves competing with dolphins for fish and other small aquatic species.

Sometimes dolphins pose a threat to the fisheries that rely on selling fish for a profit.

In these cases dolphins may end up consuming large quantities of fish which can lower the fisherman’s capture rate and sometimes dolphins end up interfering with fishing nets and other fishing equipment.

To eliminate the competition these fisheries end up killing the dolphins that interfere with their fishing operations in order to try to maintain their supply of fish.


In addition to eliminating competition for fish dolphins are also sometimes used as bait.

In some cases fisherman have been known to hunt and kill dolphins in order to use them as crab bait.

Not only does it help eliminate competition, it also provides them with a way to lure crabs in so that they can sell the crabs for a profit.


As with whales dolphins have also been sold as a form of meat that can be purchased at meat markets, supermarkets and restaurants in certain countries.

Dolphin meat has even been found being sold in cans of tuna.


Although dolphins are known to be killed by fisherman in certain countries in many cases the cause of dolphin deaths is actually accidental.

Accidental deaths can occur when a dolphin collides with a ship or when a dolphin looking for an easy meal accidentally runs into a fishing net that was intended for fish.


The construction of dams, waterways, harbors, bridges, fences and other forms of construction have led to the death of many dolphins both during the construction phase when loud, powerful equipment is being used and moved around, and after it is completed because of the alterations of the waterways that are created by the placement of these massive objects.

In fact dams, fences and other obstructions have caused fragmentation among various dolphin populations by preventing them from traveling and in some cases has also cut off their food supply.


Lastly pollution can have a large effect on the survivability of certain dolphins.

This is especially true for dolphins that live in and around coastal waters where landfill, oil and other pollutants can come into close contact with them and cause them to either become poisoned or accidentally ingest potential life threatening materials.

As you can see there are a number of reasons why dolphins are hunted and killed.

The easiest way to help dolphins is to be conscious of your recycling habits and ensure that the food you’re eating has been captured by fisheries that do not support or condone the act of hunting dolphins or using their meat as a form of bait.

You can also research a number of dolphin protection agencies by doing a search online and following their advice on ways to protect dolphins and other cetaceans from potential harm.

Additional causes

While wild dolphins face many dangers within the ocean, the biggest threat to their existence is man.

Although some species are considered endangered, statistics show that more and more dolphins are dying off due to collisions with boats or propellers, marine pollution, illegal dynamite fishing, becoming trapped in fishing nets, and beaching from sonar interference.

In fact, one study estimated that over 95 percent of unnatural deaths of these marine mammals can be attributed to man-related causes.

In addition to the reasons previously stated, dolphins are becoming endangered due to other factors such as noise pollution.

With an increase of activities including more frequent passing of ship engines and the use of navigational sonars and oil drilling, these sounds are disorienting, frightening and even injuring the animals.

Additionally, noise pollution may drive dolphins away from their breeding and feeding grounds.

Dolphins may also experience traumatic injuries such as entanglement in fishing and safety nets, as well as cages.

They follow the same routes as tuna, and sometimes become caught in nets that are meant for the fish.

They may also collide with rotor blades and ships unintentionally.

While humans try to explore the ocean, they are bringing more dangers into the habitat of the dolphins.

Dolphins are also at the mercy of nature, as much as any other animal living in the wild.

Although they are at the top of the food chain, they must still compete with other toothed whales and sharks for food.

Global warming and other seasonal changes have caused a shortage of food sources, thereby directly impacting the survival rate of various dolphin species.

Which Dolphins have Become Endangered

River dolphins, located in South America and Asia, have adapted to the muddy river environment, using their paddle-like pectoral fins to scoop mud at the bottom of the river.

However, our of the five species of river dolphins, the Baiji and Indus dolphins are in danger of becoming extinct due to pollution, habitat destruction, fishing and hunting.

The Vaquita porpoise, residing in the Sea of Cortez, is also on the brink of extinction.

Shark fishermen are killing large numbers of these animals, and because there are so few of them already, it is becoming increasingly difficult to learn more about the species and the habitat.

Other endangered dolphin species include:

What Organizations are Doing to Protect Endangered Dolphins

It is important to help protect dolphins because they are at the top of the food chain.

They play an important part in maintaining the overall balance of the environment within the ocean.

Studies are showing that dolphins may actually lead us to a better understanding of animal intelligence, as researchers are finding that dolphins may be more similar to humans than primates.

While some organizations exist to dedicate themselves to the conservation of all endangered animals, there are a few who exist solely to protect dolphins.

In fact, some celebrities are teaming up with these groups to help spread the word about the importance of protecting wild species.

Ted Danson, film and television star, is a known and highly respected ocean activist dedicated to the defense of dolphins and other endangered marine mammals.

Many organizations are attempting to help protect endangered dolphins but dolphins continue to be illegally caught and traded across the world.

Additionally, areas undergoing rapid industrialization continue to expand into areas near aquatic bodies where dolphins are residing.

Because of these factors, many groups continue to remain active and vigilant in terms of conservation efforts to ensure the vitality of these marine mammals.

Helping endangered dolphins can also begin at home.

Consumers may purchase products with a “dolphin safe” label on the can and cut up plastic soda rings to ensure an animal’s head will not become caught should the trash end up in the ocean.

Additionally, people may choose to sign petitions or donate money to organizations to aid in the safety and protection of the endangered dolphin species.