Monday, 22 April 2019

Mutilated dolphins wash up on French coast in record numbers

Activists say 1,100 dolphins found since January - but real figure may be 10 times higher
Kim Willsher in Paris
Sun 31 Mar 2019 11.51 BSTLast modified on Sun 31 Mar 2019 17.55 BST
A record number of dolphins have washed up on France’s Atlantic coast in the last three months, many with devastating injures.
Environmental campaigners say 1,100 mutilated dolphins have been found since January, but the real figure could be 10 times higher as many bodies sink without trace. Activists warn the marine slaughter could threaten the extinction of the European dolphin population in the region.
The cause of the deaths is not known but it is thought fishing trawlers catching sea bass off the Atlantic coast may be responsible. Autopsies suggest the dolphins sustain catastrophic injuries attempting to escape nets or when trawler crew attempt to cut them free after they are caught.
Experts at the Observatoire Pelagis, a marine research station at La Rochelle, said the dead mammals showed “extreme levels of mutilation”.
Lamya Essemlali, the president of the ecology campaign group Sea Shepherd, said the real death toll was probably between 6,500 and 10,000 dolphins a year.

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