World's Second-Largest Trawler Fishing North of Mayo

16th Jan 2015

The world's second largest supertrawler, the Margiris is currently fishing in waters north of Mayo and west of Donegal. At 143m long, this vessel has the capacity to fish using enormous trawl nets and IWDG are concerned at the possibility of interraction between nets such as these and cetaceans, particularly common dolphins. The Irish Fish Producer's Association also has concerns about vessels of this size operating in Irish waters - see: 

http://www.thejournal.ie/super-trawler-margiris-west-coast-ireland-1878199-Jan2015/?utm_source=twitter_self

In January 2013, 13 common dolphins washed ashore dead on the Mayo coastline. This was a very unusual event and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht commissioned a veterinary team to conduct post mortem investigations on five of the animals. To quote from the report;

"In all five cases the examined dolphins were found to be in good nutritional condition at death, with no evidence of significant diseases or conditions that might have explained their deaths. However, a number of findings consistent with entanglement in fishing gear were apparent in each animal (e.g. netmarks on fins/flukes and body wall; haemorrhaging in the lungs; evidence of recently ingested prey). Overall, the post-mortem findings in all five animals are thought to be most consistent with bycatch in trawl type fishery gear.

Given the similar findings in all five examined animals (adult males, similar states of
decomposition, all stranded in a very short time frame) it is possible that the dolphins were all
bycaught around the same time, possibly even in a single haul, given the social nature and
likely cooperative feeding strategies in this species."
 
Full report can be seen at:
 
 
 While IWDG has no evidence of interraction between this (or any other) vessel and common dolphins, we are concerned that we have been sent reports for five probable common dolphins strandings on the west Donegal coast during the last week (these will be validated and added to the strandings database shortly). Previous to this, IWDG had received no common dolphin stranding records from Donegal in the month of January since one animal in 2005.
 
To get a birds-eye view of what's happening off the Irish coast see http://www.marinetraffic.com/