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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Call for bass fishery closure
Dolphin bycatch (Image copyright Colin Wood/WDCS)
270 dolphins were washed ashore in Devon and Cornwall in 2003
A Cornish MP is to call for a ban on sea bass fishing in UK waters in a Commons debate on Thursday.

It is claimed many dolphins die when the creatures are caught in the nets strung between the mainly French and Scottish vessels used to catch bass.

The MP for Falmouth and Camborne, Candy Atherton, says action must be taken to stop the practice.

Ms Atherton chaired a Commons committee which concluded the government should do more to stop the deaths.

Ms Atherton said EU plans do not go far enough and will take too long to implement.

She said: "I therefore have concluded that the situation is so critical that the British government should seek to close the bass fishery next year by obtaining an emergency closure order."

Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, Adrian Sanders, introduced a Bill on Wednesday to ban pair-trawling for bass. It will be debated later in the year.

But Dave Pessell of Plymouth Trawler Agents said that any dolphins killed are an "incidental and accidental bycatch".

He said: "We don't take the matter lightly but it has been blown very much out of proportion.

"We have an absolute duty to minimise dolphin deaths and I accept that we need to carry on with the trial of separator grids.

"But there are always going to be casualties, there's never going to be a stage when there are no dolphin deaths."

In 2003, 270 dolphins were washed ashore in Devon and Cornwall. Conservationists estimated that this number was only about 5% of the total of those which died in nets.

MP calls for end to pair trawling
10 Mar 04  |  Cornwall
Dolphin carnage continues
08 Feb 04  |  Cornwall
Fishing ban call to save dolphins
30 Jan 04  |  Cornwall
Dolphin deaths fear
13 Jan 04  |  Devon
MPs tackle dolphin deaths
03 Dec 03  |  Devon
Nets 'kill 800 cetaceans a day'
13 Jun 03  |  Science/Nature


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