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Call for bass boycott after dolphin death

Western Morning News

30th November 2004
A leading campaigner against the slaughter of dolphins in Westcountry waters has called on consumers to boycott bass after a second carcass was washed up on a Devon beach.  Every year, hundreds of dead cetaceans are found on the region's shores - campaigners claim they are victims of bass pair trawlers, which drag a huge net between two vessels.

The male common dolphin was found by Henry Yeoman on Leasfoot Beach, Thurlestone, South Devon on Saturday morning.

Mr Yeoman, a greenkeeper at Thurlestone Golf Club, says it was scored with marks he believes were caused by fishing nets.  A female of the species was found on the same beach less than two weeks ago.

Protesters have long been calling for a total ban on the fishing method, utilised by French and Scottish fishermen.

Lindy Hingley, founder member of campaign group Brixham Seawatch, yesterday called on consumers to boycott bass until the situation was resolved.  She said: "I will make myself very unpopular by saying that, but I'm desperate."

She urged those who will continue to eat bass to quiz suppliers and restaurants on whether the methods used to catch it are dolphin-friendly.

Mr Yeoman said 18 dolphins were washed up on the same beach during one bass fishing season.  But he said he had never seen the bodies come in earlier than February.

He believes fishermen have come down early to reap the bass before a planned ban on pair trawling within 12 miles of the coastline comes into place later this season.  Many believe the new measures will have little effect, unless European fishermen are willing to take note.

Mr Yeoman said: "It's very annoying.  We can't stop it and the Government isn't stopping it.  All we can do is pick up the carcasses and use them for evidence until we can get this fishery banned."

Ms Hingley said it was now up to fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw, along with MPs and MEPs, to take the issue to the European Union.

Anyone who sees dolphin or porpoise carcasses is asked to call Lindy Hingley on 07712 587799.