Dolphins washing up on Devon beach blamed on 'Brexit death ships'

Ten dead dolphins wash up on a single south Devon beach in just six weeks as campaigners blame a rise in ‘Brexit death ships’ fishing off the UK’s coast for their deaths

  • WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Eco warriors call for action against European super trawlers and long line boats
  • They believe the ships have killed thousands of the mammals in British waters
  • Blue Planet Society claim it has spotted 11 fishing vessels in the English Channel
  • An ex-policeman claims Devon residents outraged after 10 dolphins washed up

The deaths of ten dolphins which washed up on a south Devon beach over just six weeks has been blamed on ‘Brexit death ships’ by some campaigners.

Eco warriors have called for action against huge European super trawlers and long line fishing boats which they claim have killed thousands of the mammals in UK waters.

Since the General Election was called six weeks ago, Bournemouth-based Blue Planet Society claim it has spotted 11 of the mammoth fishing vessels in the English Channel.

This is more than has ever been recorded fishing the area at one time.

Retired police detective Dave Bailey also claimed Devon residents were outraged after 10 dead common dolphins and porpoises washed up on Lannacombe Beach in the last six weeks.

Retired police detective Dave Bailey claims Devon residents were outraged after 10 dead common dolphins and porpoises washed up on Lannacombe Beach in the last six weeks (pictured)


The only visible wounds (left and right) were from seagulls having pecked the corpse, suggesting the animals had starved of oxygen trapped in trawler nets

John Hourston, 53, who has volunteered at Blue Planet Society for the last 10 years, said: ‘In the last six weeks there have been up to a dozen European super trawlers in the English Channel from Cornwall to Dover.’ Pictured: One of the dead dolphins

The only visible wounds were from seagulls having pecked the corpse, suggesting the animals had starved of oxygen trapped in trawler nets.

John Hourston, 53, who has volunteered at Blue Planet Society for the last 10 years, said: ‘In the last six weeks there have been up to a dozen European super trawlers in the English Channel from Cornwall to Dover.

‘They don’t have any independent observers on board, we have been pushing for the EU to put independent observers in to monitor what they are catching because at the minute we have to just take their word for it.

‘But it’s undeniable the devastation that follows wherever they have been.

‘It may just be a coincidence but it seems strange that such a large number of vessels have been operating so close to the UK coast at this politically sensitive time.

‘Whether they are trying to get in before they get locked out is difficult to say, but they’ve been here since the general election was announced.

‘It’s really touched a nerve with Brexiteers.

‘Just this week, two days before the election, there was the most of these vessels we have ever recorded in the recording operating between Brighton and Eastbourne.’ 


Mr Hourston continued: ‘They don’t have any independent observers on board, we have been pushing for the EU to put independent observers in to monitor what they are catching because at the minute we have to just take their word for it.’ Pictured: The remains of the dolphins

Former policeman Mr Bailey (pictured), from Dartmouth, was walking along the coastline on Tuesday when he spotted the common dolphin washed up

Mr Hourston said the 260ft-long boats – 10 times the size of a standard British fishing vessel – leave a wake of devastation in their path, with dead short-beaked common dolphins and porpoises washing up wherever they go (pictured)

Mr Hourston said the 260ft-long boats – 10 times the size of a standard British fishing vessel – leave a wake of devastation in their path, with dead short-beaked common dolphins and porpoises washing up wherever they go.

The Blue Planet Society have no political affiliation but have been lobbying the EU for more control over super trawlers and their devastating impact on marine life.

At the moment member states of the EU have equal rights to fish in territories under its regulation – but if the UK leaves it will have autonomy over its coastlines and will be able to set sustainable quotas as and where it sees fit.

Mr Hourston added: ‘The fishing industry has been allowed to run wild.

‘We could be losing tens of thousands of these animals which are getting killed in EU waters every year.

‘If that was a mammal on land, like a deer, there would be outrage. It’s a global disgrace.’

Mr Bailey said during his daily walks on the Lannacombe Beach he has spotted 10 dead dolphins in the last six weeks alone (pictured)

Former policeman Mr Bailey, from Dartmouth, was walking along the coastline on Tuesday when he spotted the common dolphin washed up.

He said during his daily walks on the Lannacombe Beach he has spotted 10 dead dolphins in the last six weeks alone.

John Hourston (pictured) has volunteered at Blue Planet Society for the last 10 years

During the same period, several Spanish and French long-liners have been spotted in the area, which he believes are fishing for plentiful tuna while there is currently no quota on how much of these fish can be caught.

He said: ‘I walk up and down the beach every day and I’ve seen 10 dead dolphins in the last six weeks, it’s very upsetting for the people that live here.

‘Before the last six weeks I hadn’t seen a single dead dolphin wash up in the last 10 years. Some people I meet walking said they’d never seen one and now spot them all the time.

‘My best guess is that the Spanish and French long-liners that have been spotted here are fishing for tuna because there’s lots of it and we have no quota on it here in the UK.

‘Whether that will change on Friday after the election, I don’t know, but it’s terrible that this is happening.

‘It seems these animals are being caught in the nets and then just thrown overboard as a waste product.

‘It’s sad and senseless – and it must be the trawlers that are responsible.’

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