Since the new year has begun, there have been reportedly 56 Dolphins and Whales that have been beached on Irish shores and have died as a result, reports the IWDG.
The IWDG have reported that there has been a huge increase in the numbers of marine mammals beaching on Irish shores since 2011 with the most deaths occurring during the earlier months of the year (January – early March). It has been stated by the IWDG that this year has been one of the worst ever seen.
The IWDG strongly believes that this increasing volume of mammals becoming stranded on Irish beaches is in some way due to fisheries bycatch. This happens when Dolphins and small marine mammals become tangled in fishing nets or injured by fishing boats – but are not the target of fishing activities. It can still be stated that anything from pollution to bad weather and death by natural causes can be the reasons for this unusually large numbers of beachings this year.
By February of this year, over 50% of the mammals beached where Common Dolphins.
The IWDG have publicly stated that:
“During this week, IWDG met with stakeholders from government agencies and representatives from the Irish and foreign registered fishing fleets in an effort to work out exactly what is happening to cause such changes at this time of year.“
The IWDG have also said that prior to 2011, the highest totals per year of strandings for Marine mammals on our island were 147 but these numbers have sky-rocketed to 220 after 2011. The IWDG are researching these situations to determine the source causes for these questionable circumstances.
The IWDG are calling for post-mortems to be carried out on the dead Dolphins and Whales that have washed up on our beaches. However, the group have said that until this type of scheme is put in place it will be almost impossible to protest for the mammals as there will not be a known reason for them washing up.
Last year, the issue that the IWDG are still currently having was addressed on a European scale. Fine Gael MEP, Séan Kelly, wrote to the EC to ask them to address this issue in Ireland. The MEP has since states that:
“There are suspicions that the super trawlers are killing these dolphins and then throwing them back into the sea.”
He has also states that the EC are taking the issue seriously and there have been proposals revised for technical measures to deal with this issue in addition to monitoring these super trawlers that roam along Irish coasts.
Other media coverage on this issue in Ireland: