Fishing industry blamed for 1100 dolphin deaths in France

Dolphin mom and calf moving in the blue, Socorro island, Mexico
Photo credit: Getty

French marine biologists are shocked at the record number of mutilated dolphins that have washed up on France's coast in the last few months.

Since January, 1100 mutilated dolphins have washed up on France's Atlantic coast, with the deaths widely blamed on the country's fishing industry.

"There's never been a number this high," said Willy Daubin, from the La Rochelle University's National Centre for Scientific Research, reports the Associated Press.

"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."

It's unknown why the deaths are spiking, but approximately 90 percent of the fatalities are caused by accidental capture in industrial nets, according to Daubin.

Experts say it is common for fishermen to cut body parts off suffocated dolphins to release the animals and save the net.

The French Ecology Minister Francois de Rugy is considering strategies to lower the number, including researching devices that can repel the marine animals.

But the animal rights group Sea Shepherd said the measures don't go far enough and says trawlers simply don't activate the repellent devices.