1,100 mutilated dolphins have been found on France’s coast since January

The mass deaths, widely blamed on aggressive industrial fishing which still hasn’t been confirmed. This discovery has alarmed animal welfare groups and prompted France’s ecology minister to launch a national plan to protect them.

The dolphins‘ bodies were horribly mutilated, the fins cut off.

But what shocked French marine researchers wasn’t just the brutality of the deaths of these highly intelligent mammals, but also the numbers involved – a record 1,100 have washed up on France’s Atlantic coast since January.

The mass deaths, widely blamed on aggressive industrial fishing, has alarmed animal welfare groups and prompted France’s ecology minister to launch a national plan to protect them.

“There’s never been a number this high,” said Willy Daubin, a member of La Rochelle University’s National Center for Scientific Research. “Already in three months, we have beaten last year’s record, which was up from 2017 and even that was the highest in 40 years.”

Though Daubin said 90 per cent of the fatalities resulted from accidental capture in industrial nets, the reason behind the spike this year is a mystery.

“What fishing machinery or equipment is behind all these deaths?” he asked.

Necropsies carried out on the dolphins this year by La Rochelle University’s National Center for Scientific Research show extreme levels of mutilation.

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