Stop Porpoise Mutilation.

"We, the undersigned, urge the Dutch authorities to start a thorough investigation to ensure those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice. " An increasing number of mutilated carcasses of Harbor Porpoises, on average 1.50 meters in length, have stranded in recent months on beaches at Texel, an island north east of the Dutch mainland.According to Just van den Broek, director at the marine protection centre Ecomare, the killings of the animals found in recent months can be contributed to fishing vessels which operated along the Dutch coast over the winter period. It is a worrying development that fishermen kill and cut the porpoises out of their nets, instead of cutting the nets around the animals to free them from being trapped. However, it is nothing new that those operating fishing vessels will often choose the cheaper and easier methods of getting rid off so called 'by catch' in order to protect their investments and profits. Many, if not all, will escape prosecution as authorities are reluctant to enforce the appropriate laws and regulations which are supposed to protect the sea mammals. In the last 3 months over 100 killed Harbor Porpoises have stranded on Dutch beaches, compared to a total of 46 in all of 2008. About half of those found were cut up and/or had been mutilated. Some reports say carcasses had the intestines cut out, apparently in an effort to make them sink to the bottom of the sea quicker and hide the evidence of the illegal practices. The Royal Netherlands Institute For Sea Research (NIOZ) has corresponded with the Dutch Minister for Fisheries and the Environment about the situation, and some of the Dutch press has covered the illegal practices but it is clear that an alarming situation as this needs a quick and concise response in order to put a stop to it. International agreements as well as Dutch law give clear opportunities for prosecution of those responsible. Dutch authorities have said they are taking this issue serious. Nevertheless, activists from different organisations will continue to monitor this situation and investigate further where needed to ensure these beautiful yet unfortunate creatures will get the justice they deserve. Please view related page at the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society website at: http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/news-090316-3.html

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