Dolphin washed up on Aveton Gifford tidal road - a victim of bycatch

By Sam Acourt in Environment

A DOLPHIN has washed up on the Aveton Gifford tidal road, another victim of fishing bycatch.

The common dolphin was found on the edge of the road at Aveton Gifford by Dave Pegg, who was taking his child to school.

‘Its about two metres long’, said Dave, ‘and has net markings on it so I think its a victim of bycatch, it has deep scratches on its body’. He took photos and contacted the cetacean stranding authority.

Bycatch is the term given to any animal or fish caught in a net accidentally, including cetaceans - whales, dolphins and porpoises, turtles, sharks, seals and sea birds as well as animals that are too small or too young to catch.

Unfortunately, being caught in the nets is often a death sentence, with air breathing species being drowned and others being crushed and suffocated in the nets.

Linda Hingley, Brixham Seawatch, said she had received numerous calls about the dolphin this morning and thanked everyone who had called and HM Coastguard, which had moved it out of the way of the tide and was waiting for it to be collected for a post mortem.

‘They’re fully grown at around eight foot long’, Lindy explained, ‘so this one isn’t a fully grown adult, but its not far off. It looks to definitely be a victim of by catch and may be the same animal that came ashore in Bantham on Monday which has been washed around to AG in the tide.’

The Natural History Museum organises for dolphins and other cetaceans to be collected and transported to London Zoo for a post mortem, in order to gain as much information abut these mammals and the threats they face in the wild.

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