Because S. attenuata tend to swim with yellowfin tuna, Pacific fishermen use sightings of these dolphins to help them locate their yellowfin tuna targets. The majority of S. attenuata deaths are a consequence of yellowfin tuna fishing operations. The enormous nets used to catch these tuna can unintentionally entangle dolphins as well as fish. S. attenuata is the dolphin species that has been affected to the greatest extent by the tuna fish industry. Between 1985 and 1990, almost 130,000 were killed each year because of the tuna fish catching methods. Thanks to United States government regulations, such as requiring improvements in fishing equipment, this number has decreased substantially by 100,000 deaths per year. Some spotted dolphins are killed intentionally by Japanese fishermen. Between 500 and 2000 spotted dolphins are harvested annually in order to be eaten by the Japanese. (Bernard et al. 1989, Chives et al. 1993, Nowak 1997, Perrin et al. 1994)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
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