MPs in plea to save dolphins

Fishing for sea bass, one of Europe's prime delicacies, should be halted off Britain's south-west coast if measures are not taken to stop the deaths of dolphins which get caught in nets, MPs said yesterday.

The bass fishery, worked in the winter mainly by boats from France but with small numbers from the Netherlands and Britain, is thought to be responsible for most of the "bycatch", or incidental capture, of dolphins. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee said a special separator grid which stops dolphins entering the nets was currently undergoing trials and should be made mandatory on all EU bass boats if it proved successful. The MPs also called for acoustic scaring devices to be fitted on all gill-nets set on the sea bottom, where porpoises often get entangled.