The Fin Review | Catch of the Day

Like many of us humans, the dolphins spend time in the Dawesville Cut to catch fish.

Often we see them chase fish up and down the rock walls, occasionally slapping the water with their tail, presumably to stun the fish.

Although it is always exciting to observe the dolphins foraging, one day in April, during the salmon season, we observed a spectacular feeding event.

We were following two well-known mothers and their calves in the cut when they suddenly swam across to Blue Water Lagoon, a small canal just off the cut.

We observed the two mums chase fish along the walls of the canal and then surface with their impressive catch, Australian salmon.

These kind of feeding events have been observed before along the Western Australian coast whenever salmon are around.

Other large fish may also be on the menu for the Mandurah dolphins, but so far salmon are the largest fish we’ve seen them feeding on.

Not only does it take skill to capture salmon but it may also be a time consuming exercise.

Dolphins do not chew their food but swallow it whole and therefore with large catches like the salmon, they need to break it into pieces before eating it.

Part of our research will concentrate on finding out what exactly the Peel-Harvey and coastal dolphins’ eat throughout the year.

The Mandurah Dolphin Research Project is a partnership between Murdoch University, City of Mandurah and Mandurah Cruises that commenced in January 2016.

They are measuring how many dolphins use the Peel-Harvey waterways and how they are connected to dolphins in nearby coastal waters.

You can follow the project on Facebook or through this fortnightly column.

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