Record number of dolphn strandings off west coast

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada is seeking a meeting with the European Commission after it was revealed that in the first two months of this year there were 28 strandings of common dolphins off the west coast of Ireland. This is the second-highest number ever recorded.

Marine scientists with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group group said there was evidence showing that many of the dolphins got caught up in large fishing nets that have been attributed to super-trawlers.

Ms Ní Riada said while there was no conclusive proof of what vessels are involved, the evidence pointed to the presence of foreign-registered freezer trawlers fishing in Irish waters.

"The authorities in Ireland and abroad have been advised, numerous times, on the appalling damage the nets from these super trawlers cause. The recent slaughter of dolphins, a protected species, off the Irish coastline further reinforces the need for action to be taken."

The MEP said it was not good enough that dolphins were succumbing to the same threats that affect so many cetacean species, like entanglement in fishing gear, chemical and noise pollution, human disturbance, habitat loss and the depletion of prey species by over-fishing.

"I am determined to keep the pressure on and to continue raising awareness, not just with the public but also with the Commission and other institutional bodies. Hence I have sought a meeting with the Commission around this, as a solution is essential sooner rather than later."

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