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29 Mar, 2019 13:43

1,100 mutilated dolphins discovered on French coast since January (GRAPHIC PHOTO)

1,100 mutilated dolphins discovered on French coast since January (GRAPHIC PHOTO)

A record-breaking 1,100 dead dolphins have been discovered with their fins cut off along France’s Atlantic coast since the beginning of the year, sparking alarm among animal protection groups.

Just three months into 2019, the astonishing number of mutilated dolphins is already greater than last year’s record, which was the highest for decades. Furthermore, autopsies carried out on this year’s discoveries found they’d undergone an extreme level of mutilation.

The mass deaths are generally a result of aggressive industrial fishing, with 90 percent of the mortalities believed to have been caused by accidental capture. Animal welfare groups say fisherman will often cut body parts off the trapped dolphins to save their nets.

However, this year’s spike in fatalities is a mystery and France’s Ecology Minister Francois de Rugy has launched a national plan to protect the animals. He has ordered an investigation into the use of acoustic dolphin deterrent devices by trawlers in the Bay of Biscay, an industrial fishing hub in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Animal rights group Sea Shepherd have lambasted Rugy’s efforts as “useless,”claiming many trawlers that they observe don’t activate the repellent device for fear of scaring off other valuable fish like hake and sea bass, and say more is needed to protect dolphins.

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