How often do you get to see a huge pod of Indian Ocean humpback dolphins swimming off the Mumbai coast? Maybe once in a lifetime, but a crew of lucky fishermen were greeted by the magnificent sight a few days back. Fishermen from Gujarat and Mumbai, who frequently venture into the sea, have reported sighting dolphins in the past but nothing compared to what they saw last month.
“A few days back, a crew of fishermen from Mangrol, Gujarat, had ventured into the Indian Ocean, fishing for tuna. Around 200 nautical miles from the west coast of Mumbai, they noticed that their boat was being chased by a pod of dolphins. It was a huge shoal with hundreds of dolphins. This is a good sign for the marine life along our west coast,” fisherman Ganesha Nakhawa told mid-day. Ganesha’s friend in Gujarat had recorded a video of the dolphins and forwarded it to him.
The crew, that was awestruck as dolphins zipped in and out of the Indian Ocean waters, had recorded the video in January end. Nakhwa said he, too, was lucky to see a similar shoal on December 22 when he was fishing at the same spot.
Dolphin sightings are common in the winter and many people, including those travelling to Mandwa from Ferry Wharf and to Elephanta Caves from Gateway of India, have reported spotting the fish. People have also spotted dolphins off Marine Drive and Nariman Point.
In May 2018, Indian Ocean humpback dolphins were apparently spotted between Madh Island and Versova jetty. But, people have rarely seen hundreds of dolphins swimming so close to Mumbai’s coast.
Marine biologists also told mid-day that sightings like these are uncommon. It happens occasionally and usually it’s just the regular fishermen who get to witness the sight.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), habitat of Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins includes mangroves, rocky reefs, lagoons, and shallow and protected bays. This is because they prefer shallow water.