Dead porpoises found on beach near Bexhill

Two dead porpoises were discovered on the beach near Bexhill yesterday (Friday, December 11).

Saturday, 12th December 2020, 10:15 am
One of the two porpoises found washed up on the beach in Cooden. Picture by Ashley Woollard SUS-201112-162408001
One of the two porpoises found washed up on the beach in Cooden. Picture by Ashley Woollard SUS-201112-162408001

One was spotted with its tail cut off after being found washed up on Cooden Beach.

Brighton Dolphin Project shared images on its Facebook page and on Twitter.

It said it received confirmation of two harbour porpoises dead on Cooden Beach today Ashley Woollard, who was working on the beach sea defences and discovered them while working.

The first porpoise with the missing tail had clear signs of bycatch, (non-target marine life rejected from a catch at sea), Brighton Dolphin Project said.

The second harbour porpoise showed signs of more advanced decomposition and died around three weeks ago, the organisation said.

Brighton Dolphin Project is a charity that works directly with local communities to ensure marine wildlife is protected and valued throughout the Sussex coast.

It said five harbour porpoises have been found on the beaches in Sussex over the last month.

Thea Taylor, Brighton Dolphin Project co-lead, said: “There are currently 10 supertrawlers in the Channel off Sussex. The first arrived on November 18 and there has been at least two factory ships in the channel ever since, fishing legally.

“One supertrawler can catch hundreds of tonnes of fish per day, using nets a mile long. The biggest vessel has a carrying capacity of 6400 tonnes (dwt).

“Between them, these supertrawlers have not only caught masses of their target fish species but tonnes of fish and marine life that they do not want, including marine mammals.

“These are usually ground down for animal feed or thrown back dead as bycatch. We see a surge in dead dolphins on Sussex beaches when the supertrawlers are here or during the weeks after.

“Although the UK Government already recognises cetacean species to be protected by law, bycatch caused by factory trawlers continues and requires a global response to sustainably manage fish resources and reduce destructive marine activity. We have the opportunity to lead a worldwide change.”

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