Dolphins in net danger
23rd February 2004
Angry wildlife watchdogs called for urgent action to save dolphins from trawler nets after nine dolphins were washed up along the Dorset coast in a week. Several of the remains have been taken away for post-mortem examinations.
Most are of common dolphins, with at least one striped dolphin, and there have also been reports of a stranded bottlenose dolphin, less common off the Dorset coast. Wildlife experts believe the dolphins are dying as a result of getting tangled and drowning in the nets of pairs of mid-water trawlers as far east as Portland.
Pairs of trawlers tow huge nets in mid water to catch fish such as sea bass, which are also the food of dolphins.
Observers on UK boats have confirmed that such by-catch is high, on average as many as two dolphins per haul.