Protesters tip dead dolphins at French embassy

18th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, March 17 (AFP) - Greenpeace activists on Thursday dumped two dead dolphins at the French embassy in London as part of a campaign to stop fishing trawlers snaring and killing dolphins in giant nets strung between them.

LONDON, March 17 (AFP) - Greenpeace activists on Thursday dumped two dead dolphins at the French embassy in London as part of a campaign to stop fishing trawlers snaring and killing dolphins in giant nets strung between them.

The dolphins were recovered in the English Channel by the Greenpeace ship Esperanza and stored in a freezer container in order for them to be taken to London and left on the steps of the embassy, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace said 16 French pair-trawler fishing boats were operating near where it found the bodies of the dolphins, one of which had been lactating, suggesting it had recently given birth.

"The French pair trawling fleet is the largest in Europe and these dead dolphins are only the tip of the iceberg," said Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

"Thousands of these animals are killed in the Channel every year and French pair-trawlers bear the brunt of responsibility for these unnecessary deaths," he said.

Greenpeace has called on the British and French governments to ban pair-trawling, which involves fishing boats working in pairs, dragging a net between them.

Knowles added: "Until pair trawling is banned, no dolphin in the Channel is safe."

A spokesman for the French embassy said its government was taking part in a number of initiatives aimed at finding technological solutions to the problem of dolphins and other cetaceans being caught up in fishing nets.

"The demonstration by Greenpeace does touch on a problem which we have not been ignoring," he said.

"We are trying to find a solution, short of banning fishing throughout, which would not put cetaceans at risk and at the same time not jeopardise the livelihoods of fishermen," he said.

A British government spokeswoman said that the European Commission had turned down a British proposal last year to ban pair trawling for bass within 12 miles of the south west coast where French activity is concentrated.

Greenpeace's flagship Esperanza left Falmouth, Cornwall, on February 17 to campaign for a ban on pair trawling for sea bass in the Channel which it fears kills 2,000 of the creatures every year.

British observers found that 439 dolphins died last year with 150 killed by one pair of sea bass trawlers alone.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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