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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Conservationists back trawl ban
Dead dolphin on beach
Over 300 cetacean carcasses found on region's beaches in 2002-03
South West dolphin campaigners have given a cautious welcome to a unilateral ban on pair trawling for sea bass within British waters.

Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw announced the move at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Monday.

The ban will be implemented within the 20km (12mile) limit of the UK's waters and will mainly affect French and Spanish fishermen.

Conservationists blame pair trawling for the high numbers of dolphin deaths.

I don't think it will actually have any impact whatsoever on the dolphin population
Jim Portus, South Western Fish Producer Organisation
The method of fishing involves a large net attached to two boats and trawled through the water but the dolphins accidentally get caught and drown.

More than 300 dolphin and porpoise carcasses were found on beaches in the South West in the year 2002-2003.

Earlier this month a bid to obtain a Europe-wide ban was rejected by the European Commission,

Lindy Hingley, from Brixham Seawatch, said it was a welcome step but the campaign to ban the practice throughout Europe would continue.

She said: "It's wonderful to have our own government backing us, we've tried so hard on this issue but we've got to stop it on the European level.

"It really won't save many dolphins lives at all.

"But it's not just the amount of dolphins - they are killed in such a traumatic and devastating way and this would not be tolerated on a wild or domestic animal on land."

Significant start

Mr Bradshaw said the move was a significant start which should have a positive effect on reducing the number of dead dolphins

He said: "We want to do what we can within our own waters to mitigate this problem.

"We want to stop the pair trawlers fishing in our own waters and restrict UK boats that take part in it outside."

But Jim Portus, from the South Western Fish Producer Organisation, said it was a tiny step which would have little impact.

He said: "It just proves how powerless the minister is in Brussels when clearly the only answer is an international regulation to seek protection of the dolphin stocks.

"I don't think it will actually have any impact whatsoever on the dolphin population."

Mr Bradshaw said the ban would start this Autumn. .

Dolphin campaign goes to Brussels
20 Sep 04  |  Cornwall
Bid to save dolphins is rejected
01 Sep 04  |  Cornwall

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