More Dolphin Deaths Documented by Sea Shepherd off France’s Atlantic Coast


February 28, 2019

A dolphin killed in the net of a French fishing trawler was captured on film Tuesday night by marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd while patrolling fishing areas in France’s Bay of Biscay.

Sea Shepherd’s vessel the M/Y Sam Simon has been patrolling the French Atlantic Coast since February 11th to monitor the fisheries responsible for catching dolphins in a campaign called Operation ByCatch. Late Tuesday night they were able to record footage of a dolphin captured by two French trawlers off the coast of Lacanau. The two boats, Native 2 and La Roumasse, were using a pelagic trawling method that deploys a huge funnel-shaped net in the water between two vessels, known to be non-selective and particularly destructive on the spawning grounds of the sea bass where dolphins swim.

After following LeNatif 2 and La Roumasse for a few hours without them releasing the dolphin into the water, Sea Shepherd's ship crossed the floating body of a smaller dolphin showing traces of nets and hooks. "We decided to bring this dolphin ashore and expose it to passers-by to alert them to what is happening at sea," says Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France. The dolphin was retrieved by the Pelagis Scientific Observatory to be autopsied today.

While trawlers are responsible for many dolphin deaths, longliners, gillnetters -- who can each set up to 100 kilometers of nets per day! -- and industrial vessels further offshore fishing for fish meal and surimi are also responsible for dolphin catches. "Not enough people make the link between their fish consumption and the fact that we are destroying the sea, with no respect for marine life as a whole and no consideration for future generations," adds Essemlali.

Sea Shepherd’s Operation Dolphin ByCatch aims to expose dolphin deaths off the Atlantic Coast to put pressure on the French government to require fisheries observers on all commercial fishing vessels, enforce the accurate reporting of bycatch, and ban fishing practices that unnecessarily result in thousands of dolphin killed as bycatch every year.


For more information about Operation Dolphin ByCatch:

Video Footage Reel (credit Sea Shepherd):

High-Res Photos (credit Tara Lambourne/Sea Shepherd):


190227-DB-TL-LeNatif2DolphinInNet-04-IMG_9857: French trawler Le Natif pulling up a dead dolphin in their net.

190227-DB-TLC-DolphinOnDeck-04-DJI_0016: Drone image of the dead dolphin hidden on the deck of Le Natif the next morning.

190227-DB-TL-DolphinOnDeck.Crane-03-IMG_0268: A dead dolphin discovered in the water being brought onboard Sea Shepherd’s ship the Sam Simon.

190227-DB-LamyaOnSamSimon: Sea Shepherd France President Lamya Essemlali with a banner on the Sam Simon: “Thousands of dolphins like this one are killed every year in France so you can eat fish.”

For interviews or media requests contact:

Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global
Tel +339 7719 7742

Lamya Essemlali, Sea Shepherd France
Tel +337 60 26 22 77

Sea Shepherd Global

Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit marine conservation movement using innovative tactics and direct action to defend, conserve and protect the worlds oceans and marine wildlife. Founded by Paul Watson in 1977, today Sea Shepherd is a worldwide movement with independent national and regional entities in over 20 countries, united by a common mission and a fleet of eleven ships on campaigns around the world. Sea Shepherd investigates and documents violations of international and national conservation law, and enforces conservation measures where legal authority exists. For more information, visit:


About Us

SEA SHEPHERD GLOBAL Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. A selection of press images are available on our Media Site (high-res images and a videos without watermarks available to qualified press on request):




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