A leading sea-life organisation wants a ban on certain fishing nets that are fatally snaring hundreds of dolphins and porpoises in Scotland and the rest of the UK every year.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation is urging the Scottish and other UK governments to phase out gillnets over the next few years.
It is also calling for the state to support fishers “to transition to safer, alternative fishing gears”.
The organisation’s Julia Pix has outlined the scale of the accidental fishing deaths. She also suggested that one cause may be that some fisheries use nets with very thin mesh, which may be difficult for dolphins to detect.
“In the UK, static gillnets are responsible for more deaths than any other gear type. We know that around 1,000 porpoises and hundreds of dolphins, including 250 common dolphins, die in gillnets in UK seas every year,” said Pix. “These nets hang in the water and catch any creature that swims into them.
“We are calling on the UK and devolved governments to phase out these nets and to support fishers to transition to safer, alternative fishing gears. We want to see those with the worst levels of bycatch replaced by 2026.”
She added: “We have a long way to go but are hopeful that advances in technology will make fishing gear more detectable to dolphins and porpoises.”
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