Why We Need to Protect West Africa’s Marine Wildlife
Tuesday, 11 Apr, 2023
Thursday, 21 Feb, 2019
Despite efforts by commercial fishing vessels to hide evidence that their nets are killing dolphins off the Atlantic coast of France, on the night of Tuesday February 19th Sea Shepherd captured images of dead dolphins being hauled onboard two trawlers fishing in pairs for sea bass in the Bay of Biscay. It echoes the video footage released by Sea Shepherd in February 2018 showing dead and dying dolphins trapped in trawler nets.
These two dolphins are in addition to the 600 others - often mutilated - found on French beaches in the last 6 weeks. While this figure may seem enormous, it is far below the true scale of the ongoing deaths. The Pelagis Scientific Observatory in La Rochelle estimates that 80% of the dolphins killed sink at sea and never reach the shore.
"During our patrols, we encounter many dolphins every day in this particularly sensitive area," said Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France and director of the campaign. "Dolphins swim through the sea bass spawning waters where many trawlers and seiners are fishing - which is already an aberration in itself - using techniques widely known to be deadly to marine mammals. Therefore, these catches are not accidental. They are predictable, almost systematic and accepted as such. It’s essential that consumers start demanding accountability for the origin of the fish on their plates," she concludes.
Operation Dolphin ByCatch is a Sea Shepherd campaign off the Atlantic Coast of France to expose the deadly fishing practices responsible for the deaths of thousands of dolphins each year.