Bay of Biscay Dolphin Massacre

Scrolling through Facebook this week I was astonished to see the title “The Indiscriminate Slaughter Of Dolphins On Our Doorstep” shared by the Save Our Seabass Organisation.

The post boasted obscene hard-hitting figures stating “From January through March an average of 6,000 dolphins are killed each year on France’s west coast”…as I continued to read up on the matter I was interested to learn that Sea Shepherd is running the campaign and taking action against this massacre. Who are an organisation I am more familiar with for collaborations with surf brands, and their superb protection efforts further afield in the likes of the Galapagos Islands protecting a huge array of marine creatures such as; Whales, Turtles, Salmon, Sea Otters, Porpoises and of course as in this case…dolphins.

Obviously, as an ocean lover and passionate conservationist myself, this alarmed me and I was compelled to learn more, especially as to why despite being a conservation organisation Save Our Seabass are writing about Dolphins when there is so much continually going on at the moment regarding Bass.

As I went on to learn from reading the following extract from the Sea Shepherd Press Release the “massacre” of  Dolphins is a direct result of the pair trawling that happens each Winter in the Bay of Biscay targeting huge shoals of fish such as Bass and a host of pelagic fish species (fish that occupy the mid water collum seeking out certain temperatures and food sources) with their faster high powered boats that can operate at higher speeds to pull a net midwater, thus as a result also intercepting dolphins.


The following is taken from Sea Shepherd and worth reading…

“From January through March an average of 6,000 dolphins are killed each year on France’s west coast by large industrial trawlers and vessels fishing in pairs (nets dragged between two trawlers). That number could be as high as 10,000 according to the Pelagis Observatory, based in La Rochelle. This is much more than the dolphin massacres of the Faroe Islands and Taiji Bay (Japan) combined.
These vessels fish mainly for sea bass, targeting spawning grounds during the breeding season. This practice not only threatens sea bass populations, but is also deadly to dolphins trapped and drowned in the nets as by-catch. While on patrol in the Rochebonne plateau this weekend, Sea Shepherd’s Bob Barker crew filmed the trawlers Jeremi Simon and Promethée pulling up their nets with two dolphins trapped inside. One of the dolphins seemed already drowned, but the other, still alive, emitted whistles of distress that can be heard on the video. Instead of discarding the dolphins back into the water in front of the Sea Shepherd crew, the two dolphins were brought aboard one of the two vessels. This macabre scene is repeated every night, all year round along the French coast, peaking between January and March.”

This raises the question are we spiralling towards a devasting future where we may see Dolphins disappearing from French waters…


I find it interesting to see how we are now witnessing commercial fishing methods having catastrophic results on marine life across the board. Not only through over-harvesting of fish and targeting species such as Bass during their spawning period, but as a direct result of their absurd initial doings, have created a knock-on effect on the most incredible and advanced marine mammals, that simply are some of the most incredible and intelligent creatures on the planet. Something we as humans claim to love.

Luckily there are simple things we can do and choices we can make that will have an effect on this such as;

  • Eating less fish. (particularly Bass, canned sardines, mackerel and herring)
  • Avoid any potentially undersized fish.
  • Boycott fish from trawling vessels, sticking exclusively to line-caught fish.
Please support the campaign by signing the petition on the link below:
To read more on the subject follow the links below:

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