Recent figures show that the amount of dead dolphins washing up on Cornish beaches is three times higher than for the same period last year year. But what is causing this surge in numbers?
Data recently released by campaigners reveals that January and February of this year saw a total of 125 dead dolphins washed up on Cornish beaches, a staggering increase on last year’s number of just 36 in the same period.
Wildlife campaigners, who are concerned by the increase, have been quick to point the finger at the fishing industry, suspecting that many of the animals were caught in nets, before being thrown dead back into the sea. Indeed many of the dolphin corpses reportedly show signs which support this theory.
However Paul Trebilcock of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation said it was ‘unlikely’ that fisherman were to blame, as they did everything they could to avoid hauling up the animals in their nets, including equipping their boats with special sonar equipment which warns the dolphins not to come too close.
Whilst postmortems were only carried out on 13 of the dead animals, five showed signs that their cause of death was linked to getting caught in fishing gear, whilst others died of natural causes.
A shortage of food, due to depleted and fish stocks, disease and pollution have all also been suggested by experts as possible contributing factors.
Photo ToxicWeb// Flickr