A marine life campaign group says it has seen an increase in the number of dolphin and porpoise carcasses washing up on – and near the Isle of Wight – over the last few weeks.
Blue Planet Society claims the rise in dead marine mammal sightings has coincided with the arrival of two super trawlers to the Solent.
As previously reported by Isle of Wight Radio, the world’s second largest fishing vessel, Margiris, has been spotted off the coast of the Island and Sussex.
Ship Annie Hillina has also been seen.
The Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO) says it has ‘boarded and inspected’ Margiris and found ‘no infringements’.
A spokesperson told Isle of Wight Radio:
“The MMO team responsible for control and enforcement continued to monitor the vessel as part of its normal fishing surveillance activities.
“The vessel also voluntarily provided electronically generated records and evidence of catch species and quantities on a daily basis.
“There have been no infringements of any regulations.”
However, John Hourston, a volunteer from the group, claims the MMO’s visit would only have lasted a few hours.
He is calling for constant supervision, such as CCTV monitoring or “independent on board observers”.
He told Isle of Wight Radio that “wherever super trawlers go, marine mammal deaths seem to follow.”
“These guys are dragging huge nets. This net can hold like 12 jumbo jets. It’s not always going to be used at this size – it depends where they are….
“…whenever you get a large shoal of mackerel it will get predators such as sea birds, dolphins, porpoises, seals – all the animals that feed will be concentrated around it.
“It is almost impossible that when you are dragging a net that large… not to catch whatever is feeding on it at the same time.”
According to the Blue Planet Society, there have been at least four reports of carcasses washing up on – or near to the Island – in the last five days.
John has warned that this could be the case for “weeks to come” as it takes time for the bodies of mammals to sink and then re-float.
He also claims there have been incidents where vessels deliberately sink carcasses “to hide their actions”.
Islanders who spot any marine mammals strandings are being urged to report them.