The Importance Of Dolphins

Submitted By meganmarie21
Words: 914
Pages: 4

Dolphins should have the right to be free and safe in their own natural habitat, but this can’t happen when they are being captured and killed by “accident”. Since dolphins natural predators only kill them for food they do not deplete their numbers the way commercial fishermen do. There should be laws written and enforced to protect these animals because the fishing nets used by commercial fisherman are harmful and murder these innocent bycatch. Dolphins and other sea animals need to be protected from these hazards by maritime laws. The population of dolphins is dwindling because they are caught in fishnets that are meant to catch tuna and other small fish. There is not much being done to prevent these mistakes made by the fisherman. In “The Independent” it is reported that “3000 cetaceans may die in the Atlantic tuna fishery each year.” At this rate dolphins will become extinct if nothing is done to protect them. “Between 1959 and 1976, over six million dolphins were killed in purse seine nets in eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.” (Lin, 1) With that many deaths the number of dolphins is already low and what isn’t helping is the fact that “ one of the greatest threats facing dolphins...” (Caught) In New Zealand this past December there were six Hector
Schilling 2 dolphins found dead, this is extremely bad because, “The sustainable limit for this area is just one dolphin per year.” (Hector’s) According to this chart in the article “Hector’s and Maui’s Dolphin SOS” it displays the decrease in the dolphin population and by 2030 they as a species could be extinct. These nets are harmful because of the material and what they end up doing to dolphins. Once caught these dolphins, who often come up to the surface for needed air, get tangled and injure their fins or noses. Most are not found in time and end up drowning. Helen Mclachlan in “The Independent” said, “ These animals die a horrible death. They obviously struggle a great deal and they frequently have broken flippers and teeth. It’s just ghastly - they basically just suffocate to death.” Some environmentalist title these nets, “walls of death”. (Nets) These nets are “long stretches of net, up to 2.5 km in length and 15 m deep, that are left to drift in the
Schilling 3 water to catch fish, but also ensnare other animals that swim into them.” (Nets) One form of netting fisherman use is called gillnets. These nets are, “Made of monofilament (single strand) nylon mesh, gillnets are difficult for dolphins and porpoises to see or detect with their sonar.” (Owen 3) Fisherman are not oblivious to these nets harming and killing these dolphins but they do nothing because they only focus on fishing for tuna. In order to catch tuna or other small animals some fisherman will hunt down schools of dolphins because the dolphins feed on the small fish. “The fishing boats will look for dolphins to find the tuna.” (Lin, 1) This makes it easier for the dolphins to get caught. When fisherman pull up their nets and find the dolphins caught their isn’t much they can do at that point. “Fisherman throw away more than a pound of other marine animals,” (Destructive) that are not the fish they are fishing for. There are guidelines for fisherman who catch tuna around Dolphins, in “ What is Dolphin-Safe Tuna?” by Doris Lin the list states, “
If the tuna were caught without driftnets and without chasing, encircling or killing