Myanmar's river dolphins and fishermen double down on unique relationship, as fish stocks dwindle

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Source: abc

Date: 12 March 2018


As dawn breaks across the Ayeyarwady River, the rubbery silhouettes of fins break the surface.

The dolphins that we expected to find half an hour down river have appeared on our doorstep, playing just meters from a riverside teashop, almost as if they overheard us the previous evening making plans with the fisherman.

Here, on a stretch of Myanmar's Ayeyarwady River north of Mandalay, 26 dolphins and fishermen from six villages have formed a unique bond — they fish together.

"This tradition stems from the Ayeyarwady, it's something that we have been taught since we were young," said 54-year-old U Maung Lay, considered the master of cooperative fishing.

He taps a pointed stick on the side of his wooden boat to summons the dolphins, while making a strange cooing noise.

"We call them in their way to help them feel safe," U Maung Lay told the ABC.

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