Why We Need to Protect West Africa’s Marine Wildlife
Tuesday, 11 Apr, 2023
Thursday, 17 Mar, 2016
On January 26, having spent the previous six hours pulling in approximately 4.5 kilometers of abandoned driftnet, the crew of the Steve Irwin noticed the body of a Common dolphin emerge from the water, entangled in the net. As one of the Steve's small boats approached the dolphin, the crew aboard were able to confirm that the dolphin was dead. The net continued to be brought aboard, and with it came the Common dolphin. Crew member Erica McLernon remembers the moment.
"It had been an exhausting day, and we had already brought the bodies of so many animals aboard the Steve Irwin. Sharks, Southern Bluefin tuna, fish, seals and even a Swordfish - and then we all saw the dolphin in the net. It was pretty hard to see that, and everyone wanted to do their best to help it, but unfortunately it was already dead. So we brought it onto the Steve and there was definitely a collective sense of sadness amongst the crew. I think it really brought home to us just how destructive and indiscriminate these driftnets are. None of us were really expecting to see this."
By the end of the day, the tally of dead animals within the short section of net had reached a staggering 321, with the crew able to release 20 animals back, alive.
This is the first in a series of moments that we will be sharing with you from the Steve Irwincrew over the coming days as they continue their mission to end illegal driftnetting in the Indian Ocean.