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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Dolphin deaths top record
Dead dolphin
Trawlers are blamed for deaths
The number of dead dolphins washed up on the South West coast has just reached a new annual record - only four months into the year.

Almost 270 have now been found, compared with 216 last year.

Last year in Cornwall there were 186 dolphins washed up. This year the figure is 189.

In Devon last year there were 30 deaths. This year there have been 78.

The deaths have been blamed on pair trawlers fishing for bass in the English Channel.

The Wildlife Trust has called for action by the UK Government and at European level for a pair trawling ban.

If that is not possible, campaigners want the introduction of acoustic "pingers" which scare dolphins away from the nets, or escape routes in the nets.

Ruth Williams of Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: "It is very distressing.

"With the numbers we are having, you just can't get away from it - even for people who go walking along the beaches with dogs and children."

She added: "Dolphins die horrific deaths in these nets and they are mammals like us. Once they get trapped and can't breath air, they suffocate."

MP criticises dolphin deaths report
18 Apr 03  |  Cornwall
'Cut fishing to save dolphins'
26 Mar 03  |  Science/Nature
Dolphins plan dismissed
20 Mar 03  |  England
Concern over dolphin clear-up
17 Mar 03  |  England
Fish supplier bans bass
20 Feb 03  |  England

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