Clune calls for investigation into links between record dolphin deaths and monster fishing boats

IRELAND South MEP Deirdre Clune has called on the European Commission to investigate an alleged link between a spike in the number of dolphin strandings on Irish beaches and the activities of super trawlers off the Irish coast.

The Ireland South MEP has submitted a Parliamentary Question on the matter and has called for an immediate investigation to establish the facts surrounding the spike in dolphin deaths around Ireland.

“Between January 1st and March 31st, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) figures show that a record 91 strandings were recorded on Irish shores, up from a previous high of 76 in 2013. Of the 91 strandings, 47 were common dolphins accounting for 52% of all species recorded. According to the IWDG, 2013 postmortem results on five common dolphins in County Mayo confirmed that their deaths were as a result of being caught in fishing nets at a time when large supertrawlers were fishing in waters off North and West Mayo.

“The allegation is that the spike in dolphin deaths is as a direct result of a busy and sustained period of supertrawler activity in our waters. The European Commission now has a duty of care under the Habitats Directive to investigate this matter to establish the facts. There are clear measures under the Habitats Directive to protect our Whale and Dolphin populations.

“I have asked the EU Commission to assess the feasibility of placing independent observers aboard such vessels to ensure that EU quotas and EU laws are adhered to. Rigorous supervision while in Irish waters and the presence of an independent observer would aid the work of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and the Navy in monitoring large fishing vessels.