Dolphin killed by pair-trawling. Thousands of porpoises and dolphins die every year as accidental bycatch.
The five adult dolphins had obviously been trapped in the net
and drowned in the struggle to escape. All of the animals had cuts
to their beaks, fins and flippers. A piece of net was also
discovered near the carcasses.
were found about 20 miles off the coast of Plymouth, England. Four
of the bodies were recovered and loaded on to the Esperanza, while
the fifth was washed away.
Pair trawling is a method of fishing used to catch sea bass
during the winter. Huge nets (some can hold 10 jumbo jets) are
towed in mid water at high speed by two fishing boats to catch fish
such as sea bass, mackerel, horse mackerel, hake and in summer
albacore tuna. However these fish are also the food of common
dolphins and Atlantic white-sided dolphins in particular, but also
bottlenose dolphins and long-finned pilot whales. These species are
caught accidentally in the same nets and dragged to their
The Esperanza is currently touring UK fisheries where dolphins
might be threatened to highlight the issue of 'bycatch'. Thousands
of dolphins and porpoises die as 'bycatch' in fishing nets every
year in these waters. Many carcasses wash up on local beaches.
Potentially thousands more sink at sea - as would the five
dolphins we found today, if we had not spotted them.
deliberately mutilate some bycatch victims, attempting to make the
animals sink. A common dolphin, with axe-like wounds on its body,
was found dead on Burgh Island, off the South Devon coast, this
week. It appeared someone had tried to cut off the dolphin's head
Incidents like these show that the official dolphin death count
is just a fraction of those that are actually killed in trawling
nets. The total number of 'bycatch' deaths could be as high as
10,000. The problem is so severe that dolphins (and porpoises too)
could actually be wiped out from waters around the UK.
We are calling on the UK Government to take urgent measures to
stop the damage inflicted by destructive fishing practices.
a message to UK Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw right now.
Dolphins condemned by pair trawling:
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