Letter: Mammals and fish at risk from drift nets

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Sir: I noted with sympathy Dr Margaret Klinowska's complaint about a lack of funding for research into measures to reduce the threats to dolphins from fishing nets ('Lack of funds hits drift net research to save dolphins', 25 August). The difficulties she is experiencing are symptomatic of the general lack of government commitment to the protection of marine mammals in UK waters.

The lack of commitment goes far beyond the Government's refusal to monitor fishing nets and develop dolphin-friendly nets. Virtually all the basic research on the status and distribution of small cetaceans in the UK is being conducted by the voluntary sector. The Government is contributing nothing towards the research in some of the UK's most important dolphin areas - Cardigan Bay and the Moray Firth.

This is left entirely up to voluntary bodies such as the Greenpeace Environmental Trust. The Government's recent pledge of pounds 86,396 for cetacean research is woefully inadequate, and none of it is earmarked for population studies that are vital to any conservation project or for investigations into fisheries responsible for an alarming number of dolphin deaths.

This basic research is vital if adequate protection measures are to be devised for the dwindling populations of harbour porpoises, dolphins and other cetaceans in our waters. The Government has an obligation to protect these animals under the Bonn Agreement on the Conservation of Small

Cetaceans.

Yours faithfully

MARY MUNSON

Greenpeace Wildlife Campaigner

London, N1

25 August

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