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Dead dolphins prompt calls for fishing net ban

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A rare Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin was buried not far from where it was found dead downstream of the Koh Pos Bridge in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday. Photo supplied

Dead dolphins prompt calls for fishing net ban

A dolphin weighing over 200kg and 2.3m long was found dead by fishermen downstream of the Koh Pos Bridge on Wednesday morning. Officials in Preah Sihanouk province’s Fisheries Administration decided to bury the carcass not far from where it was found.

Preah Sihanouk provincial Fisheries Administration director Em Phea told The Post that the dolphin, which had been dead for a week, was in a state of decay and could no longer be retrieved for research.

“The post-mortem examination of the carcass showed that the dolphin was killed by a fishing net. Our officials decided to bury it near Koh Pos beach,” he said.

Phea said the dolphin was of the Indo-Pacific humpback species which is rare. In Cambodia, the species mostly appears at the areas of Koh Pring, Koh Thmey, Koh Ses, and Koh Rong.

Separately, people in Kratie province also found a dead dolphin calf floating along the Mekong River, some 7km from the Anlong Kampi Irrawaddy dolphin conservation area, a Facebook post by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Cambodia said on Tuesday.

Experts from WWF Cambodia and the river guard said the dolphin was just 11 days old and had been dead since Sunday. While the cause of the dolphin’s death is unknown, its carcass had many scratches.

WWF Cambodia said the loss of the calf has caused the Mekong River Conservation Team and experts from WWF Cambodia much regret and “the most sadness”. It said they will continue their work to ascertain the calf’s exact cause of death.

Mekong River dolphins are commonly known to die after being trapped in fishing nets, indicating that such offences continue in the Mekong dolphin conservation area. Regular patrols need to be strengthened, apart from enforcing the strictest legal measures against offenders.

WWF Cambodia country director Seng Teak said: “Fishing nets are a tool which pose a major threat to the survival of the Mekong dolphin.”

He called for tougher enforcement of fishery laws and a strict ban on fishing nets.

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