Page last updated at 19:48 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 20:48 UK

Dolphin 'pinger' devices trialled

Dolphin caught in fishing net
Scientists say 61% of deaths since 1990 have been caused by fishing

Trials have been taking place off the Cornish coast to test devices which could help prevent dolphins and porpoises being caught in fishing nets.

Marine conservationists hope the hi-tech sonic device, known as a pinger, will stop the creatures' decline.

The teams behind the equipment are hoping to get funding to carry out further tests.

The devices emit a signal which is designed to drive the creatures clear of the fishing nets.

Last month scientists from the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus and Cornwall Wildlife Trust published a report, which said industrial fishing was largely to blame for the increase in the number of dead whales, dolphins and porpoises being washed up on Cornish beaches.

Conservation zones

Their research showed 61% of deaths since 1990 were confirmed as being caused by fishing, with the creatures accidentally caught up in trawlers' nets as "bycatch".

Joana Doyle, marine conservation officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said steps had to be taken to safeguard the future of the cetaceans.

The trust would like a network of marine conservation zones established on the coast.

It is also in favour of an EU-wide ban on pair trawling for seabass, which involves two vessels working together dragging a huge net between them.

The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said studies of the effectiveness, costs and availability of pingers indicated the devices need more development.

But it said the government would continue to work with the industry to explore methods to assist in species protection, including the creation of a suitable pinger.




SEE ALSO
Dolphin deaths blamed on fishing
06 Jul 08 |  Cornwall
Navy ruled out on dolphin deaths
23 Jun 08 |  Cornwall
Mystery of dolphin mass stranding
10 Jun 08 |  Cornwall
Dolphins die after mass stranding
09 Jun 08 |  Cornwall
Rare stranded dolphin is put down
28 Jan 08 |  Cornwall
Search held for dead baby whale
19 Feb 08 |  Cornwall

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific