Proper release of dolphin caught at Bedok Jetty?

By: Obbana Rajah

Last Saturday, a dolphin was caught in the line of an angler at Bedok Jetty, with the hook embedded in its tail.

A crowd of about seventy onlookers urged the fisherman to cut the line but he was seen to be trying to reel it in. Only after the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) was called, did the fisherman cut the line. The dolphin was then seen to be swimming away slowly with its tail bleeding.

Dolphin sightings are not entirely unheard of in Singapore’s waters. According to the National University of Singapore’s Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI), there were about 169 dolphins were spotted between 2008 and 2011 in the waters between Singapore and Batam.

The question that arises in this situation is such: instead of cutting the line as onlookers pushed for, should the angler have removed the hook from the dolphin altogether?

Often when fishing, anglers and fishermen alike employ what is known as a catch-and-release method. How this works is that once they get a bite, they remove the hook in the most humane way possible – with the least injury to the fish – and release it back gently into the water.

Netizens and animal-lovers alike were outraged at the whole situation. Some even gave the angler the benefit of the doubt, saying that his intention might have been to remove the hook from the dolphin before releasing it.

ACRES has requested for members of the public to call their hotline at 97837782 should they spot the dolphin.