New-born porpoise caught in trawler net
Western Morning News
19th February 2004
A baby porpoise, just minutes old, is the latest tragic casualty of the pair-trawling fisheries.
Campaigners say the tiny corpse, found close to the body of its mother and another adult porpoise, was probably subjected to a traumatic birth inside a trawler net.
Ruth Williams, Marine Officer for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: "It could even be that the corpse is a foetus that aborted when the mother died, and then later got washed up. The post-mortem results are inconclusive, but they show that the porpoise cannot have been more than minutes old.
"If it was born within the net, this would have been a very traumatic event for both mother and baby."
She added: "This is one of the most shocking images we have released - it brings home the reality of what is happening. Seeing the adults washed up is distressing enough, but for such a young porpoise to die is horrific. We have had other babies washed up before, but never as young as this."
These three latest by-catch casualties, found on the beach at St Austell Bay in Cornwall, bring the total number of dolphins and porpoises washed up so far this year to 102 in Cornwall alone.
And campaigners say this is just the "tip of the iceberg", as most carcasses disappear far out at sea.
Volunteer Jan Loveridge, who with husband Jeff was called out to record details of the infant porpoise, said: "These creatures are being slaughtered mercilessly and we know they die in a horrific way, either being suffocated slowly or crushed to death in the nets."
Information painstakingly gleaned from recording, measuring and examining carcasses is vital in the fight to end the needless dolphin and porpoise deaths.