Dolphins short on prey are resorting to underhand tactics to find a meal – tearing into nets to access the fish inside.
They concluded that the marauding marine mammals were therefore the most likely culprits.
“It seems that some dolphins may be actively seeking nets as a way to get food,” said Dr Robin Snape, an ecologist at the University of Exeter, who led the study.
Net damage is irritating for the fishermen themselves, and can cost individuals thousands of euros every year. This is particularly problematic as most operations in the region are small scale.
Dr Snape highlighted a “vicious cycle” that is “probably driven by falling fish stocks, which also result in low catches – meaning more nets are needed and higher costs for fishers”.
Photo: Evan Kirby/Unsplash