Dolphins are breaking into nets to steal fish thanks to overfishing

A bottlenose dolphin eats a fish underwater
© Joost van Uffelen/Shutterstock

Fish aren't doing so well these days.

"Increasing fishing efforts over the last 50 years, as well as unsustainable fishing practices, are pushing many fish stocks to the point of collapse," writes the World Wildlife Fund. "More than 30 percent of the world's fisheries have been pushed beyond their biological limits and are in need of strict management plans to restore them."

That's tough on fish, and it's a disaster for any species that eats fish ... like dolphins. So what's a plucky marine mammal to do? Break into some fishing nets, of course.

A new study found that dolphins in northern Cyprus have gone straight up outlaw on the situation. Fishing nets are six times more likely to get broken when there are dolphins in the area, found the researchers.

“It seems that some dolphins may be actively seeking nets as a way to get food,” explained Robin Snape, a University of Exeter scientist who led the study.

The researchers tried using devices that made a pinging sound to help dolphins avoid the nets. Naturally, the dolphins treated this as a dinner bell and ended up stealing more fish.

“Effective management of fish stocks is urgently needed to address the overexploitation that is causing this vicious cycle," added Snape.

Lots of fishing nets are getting damaged. The situation is also dangerous for the dolphins, who can get stuck or injured in the nets.

Still, there's something badass about the whole thing, isn't there?

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