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Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 20:27 GMT
Trawlers blamed for dolphin deaths
dolphin carcass
Dolphin bodies have been washed up on beaches
Post-mortem examinations on dead dolphins washed up on South West beaches have been stopped because vets cannot cope with the large number of bodies.

Nearly 120 have been found so far this month - 60% more than last January.

The dolphins are believed to have been caught in large pair nets used for bass fishing in the English Channel.

The carcasses range in length from 5 ft to 9 ft and have been found washed up on beaches in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

Mike Lock of South Hams council: "We have had eight in the last two days.

"That would normally span four or five weeks."

Dolphin deaths 2003
dolphin net
Devon: 39
Cornwall: 77

Ruth Williams, Cornwall Marine Officer, said there was strong evidence that pair trawling was to blame.

"A lot of them have got signs that they have been trapped in big trawl nets.

"They have broken beaks and damaged skin particularly on the fin areas which give you some idea of their distress in the nets."

London Zoo normally collects all the carcasses for post-mortem, but it has been inundated and says it cannot take any more.

That means that bodies are now being left to rot, or taken to landfill.

Environmentalists warned earlier this year that dolphins off the South West coast are in danger of being wiped out by pair trawlers.

Local fishing representatives say the local fleet is not responsible and have blamed industrial foreign vessels looking for bass.

graphic of nets


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Click here to go to Devon
See also:

22 Jan 03 | England
10 Jan 03 | England
08 Jan 03 | England
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