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More Than 100 Dolphins Found Dead on Russian Coast


1 week ago 26

Over 100 dead dolphins have washed up along the coast of Russia.

A total of 137 of the Black Sea variety have been found lifeless in the Krasnodar Territory and Sirius region, with over 101 stranded in just the last week alone, dolphin rescue and research center Delfa said in a statement posted to Telegram.

"This is a serious figure," said the rescue center, which has a hotline "bursting with calls every day."

Many of the dead dolphins have "obvious signs" of being victims of bycatch, which is when mammals are harmed after becoming tangled in fishing nets.

Dead dolphin
A lifeless dolphin floats in the water. Over 100 dolphins have washed up dead in Russia. Waskito Wibowo/Getty

The dolphins had "deep" scratches on their body, missing fins, extensive wounds and some even had a "ripped open belly," Delfa reported.

"Of course, fishermen do not kill dolphins intentionally (whales, dolphins, or porpoises die when caught in nets), in this way they try to get rid of the bodies, to hide the very fact of bycatch. But there is no way to hide such a number," the center said.

Marine mammal strandings happen all over the world and are not uncommon for individuals. However, it is quite rare for such large numbers to wash up in the same space of time.

More often than not, a dolphin that washes up while still alive will die as it cannot spend extended periods of time out of the water.

Sickness and injury are the most common reasons for stranding however sometimes, the exact cause remains a mystery.

Delfa believes a possible reason for this increase in deaths was due to an increase in the yearly quota for flounder fish. And nets used for this sort of catch are "the most dangerous" for marine mammals such as dolphins.

"It is necessary to look for an alternative for them and, in general, revise the rules of fishing - otherwise the Black Sea will be left without dolphins," the rescue center reported.

"Of course, the annual seasonal death of cetaceans also occurs as a result of the exacerbation of various diseases. Therefore, if possible, we take samples from fresh bodies to investigate the causes of death."

Efforts were made to save the dolphins that were found still alive however there was nothing rescuers could do to reduce the large number.

Bycatch presents a serious risk to all marine life. Fishermen will often discard the animals caught in the nets that they cannot use, or are not allowed to bring to shore, such as dolphins and sharks. However even if an animal is released, they can sustain life-threatening injuries from the fishing nets, and will often die as a result or strand ashore.

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