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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 November, 2004, 12:45 GMT
Action pledge to 'save dolphins'
Dead dolphin on beach
Over 300 carcasses were found on South West beaches in 2002-03
Conservationists in Devon are to spend two years collecting data in an effort to ban a fishing practice blamed by some for dolphin deaths.

Many believe that pair trawling - in which two trawlers work together - is responsible for high numbers of dolphin deaths off the South West coast.

But the European Union has refused to ban it, citing a lack of evidence.

Devon Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers are to gather information to present to the EU to back their case.

This is no longer good enough
Paul Gompertz, trust director
This year the UK responded by unilaterally introducing a ban on the form of fishing.

Their nets scoop up fish in their thousands, but larger creatures such as dolphins also get caught.

The trust now wants to keep watch on beaches where carcasses might come ashore.

They will also be tracking the movement of dolphins - and training boat owners to track the dolphins off shore.

The two-year project will cost around 40,000, and the trust has started a fund-raising campaign.

Trust director Paul Gompertz said action must be taken to save the dolphins.

He said: "Something must be done.

"Last year we recorded nearly 350 dead dolphins and porpoises in Devon and Cornwall, and scientists estimate that only 5% - 10% of those killed ever get washed up.

"The only thing we can do now is provide more and better data. So far, we have operated on a shoestring, collecting data as and when we could. This is no longer good enough."

Dolphin protection plan attacked
27 Oct 04 |  Cornwall
Fishermen act on dolphin deaths
26 Oct 04 |  Cornwall
Dolphin campaign goes to Brussels
20 Sep 04 |  Cornwall
Bid to save dolphins is rejected
01 Sep 04 |  Cornwall

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