Mass dolphin deaths ‘may be related to fishing nets’
Around 80 dead dolphins washed ashore along the Black Sea beaches in what experts believe was due to getting caught unintentionally in fishing nets.
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÜDAV) announced that there has been an extraordinary increase in the deaths of lark-type dolphins, especially on the Western Black Sea coasts, since the last week of February.
The statement noted that the beaches where dead dolphins were spotted stretch from the coasts in the northwest of Istanbul to Sinop, where the northernmost tip of the country is located.
“As a result of the scientific examination of dolphins that our experts were able to reach, it was determined that the causes of death were drowning in the net due to fishing interaction,” it noted.
The foundation explained that it has not yet determined the reason why the deaths are more concentrated in the mentioned region at this time of the year compared to previous years and why the incidental net trapping cases have increased so much.
TÜDAV stated that studies on this issue are ongoing.
“It is being investigated that dolphins may have come to safe shores in the south of the Black Sea due to climate impact, unusual ship traffic, fish migrations and/or intense underwater or surface military activities in the north,” it said, without directly referring the ongoing clashes between Russia and Ukraine.
However, the foundation underlined that fishing methods that lead to accidental catching of dolphins are purse seine and midwater trawling, used for trapping small pelagic fish.
The foundation urged fishermen to proceed with caution while casting their nets and check for dolphins trapped in them to save the mammals.