Every year, thousands of animals are accidentally caught by offshore fishing industries. Many of those usually wash up on France’s Atlantic Coast and are later on collected by local authorities in Les Sables d’Olonne.
Most recently, hundreds of dead and mutilated dolphins were found by Sea Shepherd France volunteers, who said those carcasses are dumped each week, before being sent to a rendering plant (a place connected to animal slaughterhouses where meat processing happens.)
The animals had suffered fractures, snapped tails, broken flippers and deep wounds, which might have been caused by nets cutting into their flesh, according to reports by The Independent.
These dolphins usually get caught in fishing nets and die drowning. Trawlermen then cut the dolphins free to make them sink and disappear in the oceans, but many of them still wash up on shore.
Sea Shepherd said each trawlers fishing kill up to 10,000 dolphins – more than those slaughtered in annual catches of Faroe Islands and Taiji, Japan. Scientists believe that 20 percent of the dolphins killed eventually wash up on the beach.
Death toll among marine animals continues to rise and causes public outrage from officials. Sea Shepherd adds that scientists are concerned about the effects of massive killing spree on dolphins, because those animals are known to reproduce slow, “meaning by the time the decline in their population is visible, it’s usually too late.”
“Thirty years of meetings and discussions with the fisheries committees have led to the catastrophic situation we are in today. The time for discussion is over, there is an urgent need for action,” Lamya Essemlali, president of Sea Shepherd France, said in a statement.
A spokesman for the French arm said the fishermen consider the dolphins as “accidental catches,” even though they are protected by the international conservation of the law.
The organization is currently calling for a fishing ban and salve of juvenile fishes.
“However, the French state is turning a deaf ear to all the scientists’ warnings, and the fishermen involved are taking advantage of the general public’s ignorance,” Sea Shepherd said.
If the killings continue, scientists believe dolphin population would decrease faster than anyone could have imagined and drive it to its extinction.