BBC: Bulgarian Dolphin Deaths Could be Linked to illegal Fishing

The discovery of a headless baby dolphin on a Bulgarian beach recently shocked holiday makers, and pushed an old story back into the headlines.

There have been reports of dolphin calves washing up on beaches along the Black Sea coast every summer for the past few years - some missing a head, others a tail.

Environmentalists put the blame on illegal poaching boats that are sent out to fish for one of the Black Sea's most famous and valuable catches - the turbot flatfish.

Atanas Rusev from the non-governmental organisation Save Koral Beach says baby dolphins get caught in the sprawling fishing nets, where they suffocate and die.

Read more here Mr Rusev says tourists and volunteers have reported dozens of dead dolphins on "pretty much every single beach" along the country's coastline.

The veteran ecologist warned Bulgarian National Radio that only a small proportion of the casualties wash up on beaches, suggesting that the scale of the wildlife disaster could be much larger.

But the number given by the local authorities is somewhat lower - a total of 12 up to mid-June this year.

A representative of the official Eco Inspectorate in the port of Burgas told Bulgaria On Air that it's very difficult to establish the reason for the deaths or whether human interference is to blame, as it is "a natural processes in part".

One accusation levelled at the authorities is that they have not tried to gather data and establish the causes of death.


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