Record number of dolphin deaths
Western Morning News
13th January 2004
Dead dolphins are being washed up on Westcountry beaches in their highest numbers ever.
Cornwall alone has seen 35 carcasses since January 1st. Experts warn this could be a tragic record year, topping last year's county total of 255.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust data handler Stella Turk said: "This is probably the largest number ever for Cornwall.
"We are already heading for high numbers this year."
Eleven carcasses were found at Marazion last weekend.
Dolphins get trapped in the two kilometre-long nets of bass pair trawlers, which conservationists want a total ban on.
Escape hatches, which could reduce the death rate, are not yet widely used.
The five per cent of boats, which do use the device, are being observed by the government, in order to record their efficiency. The results will not be in time to save dolphins this year.
David Ball, owner of Silver Dolphin Marine Conservation and Diving Centre in Porthleven, assesses dead dolphins and sends them for autopsy.
David said, "It will go on, possibly at this staggering rate, until the end of March and the end of the bass season.
"It looks like there will be more than ever this year.
"It is really sad because they are such beautiful creatures."