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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 18:28 GMT
Fears over bottle-nose dolphins
Bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins are being trapped in nets, campaigners say
The government is being urged to do more to save the bottle-nosed dolphin in Cornish waters.

Wildlife experts say the Cornish population has dropped from 16 to just six over the last 20 years.

St Ives MP Andrew George is urging the government to put pressure on the French to control their pair-trawling in South West waters.

It follows calls for a ban on the practice in which nets are slung between two fishing vessels.

The practice was banned in 2004 for British trawlers within 12 miles (19km) of the UK coast, but other European boats are not covered by the ban.

Mr George also wants better monitoring of dolphin deaths.

He said in a debate at Westminster on Wednesday: "There is a wish among environmentalists, local people and the fishing industry to co-operate to monitor the health of the dolphin population and investigate mitigation measures."

Last month, MEP Neil Parish presented evidence to the European Commission that dolphin numbers in the Bay of Biscay - a key migratory route to the South West - had declined.

The information came from wildlife trusts, marine groups and the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme.

Mr Parish also believes a ban on pair trawlers could reduce dolphin deaths.

SEE ALSO
Concern over decline in dolphins
18 Jan 08 |  Cornwall
UK 'faces EU court on dolphins'
23 Jan 06 |  Cornwall

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