ENGLISH CHANNEL, United Kingdom — Last season UK government observers witnessed two vessels, the Ocean Star and Ocean Crest, killing more than 150 dolphins while trawling for sea bass. But the government didn't lift a finger to stop it. So we took our ship, Esperanza, into the English Channel to do something about it. Now we have found them.
Activists attempt to discover if a pair trawler has dead dolphins in its nets. The trawler is trying to hide the content of the nets from view.
The Ocean Star and Ocean Crest are part of a "pair trawling"
fleet from the UK and France, which is estimated to kill thousands
of dolphins in the English Channel every year. Pair trawlers drag a
huge net between them to catch fish like sea bass, but also kill
Our inflatables found the pair trawlers about 30 miles south of
Plymouth. As soon as we approached, the trawlers stopped fishing
and hauled in their nets. Our campaigner Willie was onboard one of
the inflatables: "As soon as we got between the trawlers they
swiftly started moving together - encircling us between them and
their nets! Of course our inflatables are much more manoeuvrable,
and we got away no problem. The boats then started to haul their
nets - and as soon as one vessel was 'free' from the net it made a
point of continually heading straight for our inflatables at
"All the time the one boat was hauling; the other seemed to be
trying to stop us getting close to see the net hauled. Anyone would
think they had something to hide - like all the dolphins they've
killed in this fishery over the past few years?
"Immediately the boats steamed off, and it doesn't look like
they'll start fishing again soon. But we'll keep with them - safe
in the knowledge that every hour they're not fishing, they're not
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Previously, the Ocean Star and Ocean Crest stopped fishing when
we placed swimmers in front of the boats and attached large
inflatable buoys to their net. We are taking action because both
the UK government and the European Union (EU) have failed to tackle
needless destruction of the dolphin population must stop, and
because the governments won't stop it, it's up to us. Otherwise,
there's a very real chance that dolphins will disappear altogether
from the Channel," said Sarah Duthie from onboard the
Government observers on UK sea bass trawlers last year recorded
169 dolphins killed in the huge nets. Government figures estimate
that the UK fleet alone was responsible for the deaths of 439
dolphins last year. The UK and French fleets combined could be
killing over 2000 dolphins a year.
We want the UK government to investigate which other fishing
methods are also killing dolphins and porpoises and take action.
Worldwide, the unintentional capture in fishing nets of dolphins,
porpoises and other marine species is a major problem. It is
estimated to kill some 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises a
year. Overall it has been estimated that 23 percent of the global
fisheries catch is thrown back dead.
Tell the new EU Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, that you
want pair trawling for bass banned!
Read the updates from the
crew taking action for dolphin protection.
of dolphins and our actions to defend them.