Fishing Buddies | God's World News
Fishing Buddies
Critter File
Posted: May 01, 2023
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    Dolphins jump in front of fishermen in Laguna, Brazil. (Dr. Fábio G. Daura-Jorge/Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina via AP)
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    Fishers stand in a line. They wait for bottlenose dolphins to approach. (Alexandre Machado/Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina via AP)
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    Dolphins swim toward fishers. (Alexandre Machado/Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina via AP)
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    Scientists watched. They saw how people and dolphins worked together. (Dr. Bianca Romeu/Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina via AP)
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    A scientist watches a dolphin. (Dr. Carolina Bezamat/Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina via AP)
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If you’re going fishing in Brazil, you might want to ask a dolphin for help.

On the shores of Laguna, Brazil, water gets murky. People can’t see the schools of mullet fish lurking below. But dolphins use sound to find fish. The clever mammals say, click click click! Sound travels in waves. Sound waves (click!) bounce off objects. The shape, size, and softness of an object change the returning sound waves. Bingo! The dolphins’ clicks locate the fish!

Next, the dolphins herd the fish toward the coast. People wade into the water holding hand nets. The dolphins dive down fast. This shows people exactly where the fish swim.

This is remarkable. But it’s nothing new. Local newspapers have kept track of these unlikely fishing buddies—humans and dolphins—for 150 years. The unusual teamwork is called “synchrony.”

It was clear why people wanted the dolphins’ help. But scientists wondered: Why did the dolphins want to help the people?

To find out, they used underwater microphones. They tracked the dolphins and mullet fish. Drones recorded interactions from the sky. GPS devices attached to fishers’ wrists recorded when the fishers cast their nets.

Here’s what happens: Dolphins steer the fish toward shore. Fishers stand waist-deep in the water, nets at the ready. Suddenly, a tail slap or arched back from the dolphins cues the fishers. They throw their nets. If they follow the dolphins exactly, they get a large catch.


And here’s what’s in it for the dolphin. The falling nets startle the mullet. The fish break into smaller schools. These are easier for dolphins to hunt. The fishers catch some. The dolphins catch some too. Mystery solved!

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves. — Genesis 1:21

Why? In God’s perfect design, people and animals can work together for the good of both.