Police investigate mystery deaths of 48 dolphins
26th July 2003
Romanian authorities are investigating the mysterious deaths of 48 dolphins that have washed up on the shores of the Black Sea.
The dolphins, which are a protected species, have been found on beaches, south of the port town of Sulina. The area is located near the mouth of the Danube River, which flows into the Black Sea.
The cause of death is unclear but they did not have marks or cuts from fishing nets like other dolphins that died recently in the area.
Dozens of dolphins die monthly after they get caught in fishing nets, said Simion Nicolaev, who heads the National Institute for Marine Research.
There are only 2,000 dolphins left in the Black Sea, down from one million in the 1940s.
In May 10 dolphins died on beaches 20 miles south of Sulina. Environmentalists blamed the military for their deaths because the bodies surfaced shortly after live ammunition army exercises in the area. The military denied killing the dolphins but suspended the exercises.
Last year, several Turkish fishermen were convicted and fined after authorities found two dozen dolphins tangled in their nets.