Scientists and conservationists believe that industrial fishing is responsible for many of the dolphin deaths

By Kelli Bender
March 29, 2019 04:11 PM

The beaches of France have been plagued with grisly sights in 2019.

According to the Associated Press, 1,100 dead dolphins have washed up on French shores this year.

“Already in three months, we have beaten last year’s record, which was up from 2017 and even that was the highest in 40 years,” Willy Daubin, a member of La Rochelle University’s National Center for Scientific Research, told AP.

These dolphins weren’t just found dead, many washed up on French shores “horribly mutilated,” with gouges in their skin and missing fins.

Both conservationists and scientists, like Daubin, believe industrial fishing is responsible for most of these dolphin deaths. Like countless dolphins before them, these marine mammals likely became accidentally entangled in fishing nets. Caught under water, the dolphins probably suffocated and then were savagely cut from the nets by fishermen.

Daubin told AP the dolphins washing up on France’s beaches this year show a more extreme level of mutilation.

Credit: AFP/Getty

Some animal rights activists believe the end to the hake fishing ban is behind these deaths. The long-time ban was lifted three years ago. Dolphins deaths in France started to increase around the same time.

“The government needs to take responsibility and act — especially [French President Emmanuel] Macron, who said he wanted to protect ecology,” Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France — a marine conservation organization — told AP.

French Ecology Minister Francois de Rugy is working to develop fixes the will decrease the number of dolphins that die because of humans. One solution could be having the industrial fishing vessels in the Bay of Biscay, which is off the western coast of France, increase their acoustic repellent devices.

Sea Shepherd believes this change wouldn’t be enough since they have observed fishing vessels not using these devices, which emit sounds the drive dolphins aways, over fears that the devices would also drive fish away too.

The marine conservation organization believes more aggressive action needs to be taken to prevent the extinction of dolphins, especially since the consumption of seafood is rising.