In recent years numbers of South America’s freshwater dolpins have fallen. But they’re not being caught to eat, but as bait for a common catfish being fraudulently sold under a different name

This month, marine conservation NGO Oceana released a major report on seafood fraud, which reviewed more than 200 scientific studies that had collectively examined over 25,000 fish samples from around the world. Through its analysis, Oceana was able to show that an astonishing one in five seafood samples globally is mislabelled to represent other species and mislead consumers. Nestled within that report was the case of the Amazon river dolphins – a peculiar testimony to the often bizarre, trickle-down effects of seafood fraud.

These freshwater dolphins occupy the Amazon and Orinoco river basins that stretch across the northern half of South America. They have historically been abundant across this vast watery network, and are protected by law, making it illegal to kill them. But for years, poachers have been targeting the dolphins and using them as bait to catch a much smaller type of catfish.

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Source: Guardian Environment