Common dolphins in Ireland stranding in increasing numbers

21st Feb 2018

A common dolphin which stranded in Fareham Creek, Hampshire, in autumn 2017

A new article by the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (IWDG) has highlighted a significant increase in the number of common dolphin strandings as a major cause for concern.

Mick O'Connell, IWDG's Strandings Co-ordinator, authored the piece which highlights that the number of common dolphin strandings reported to the charity has increased from 30 in 2007 to 103 in 2017, a 350% increase in just ten years.

This is a key factor in a jump in cetacean strandings more generally from 130 in 2007 to 263 last year, with the 2017 figures including 40 unidentified animals which are expected mainly to be common dolphins, adding to the likely total number.

More worringly, the article refers to recent research that indicates as few as 8% of animals dying at sea wash ashore, a figure that means the 103 animals found represents more than 1000 actual deaths.

The report refers to a number of potential factors, including plastics, noise pollution and bycatch, but the reality is that there is limited understanding of the causes of these tragic deaths. Until we understand these animals better, they will continue to die and so action is needed now.

ORCA work with IWDG through the European Cetacean Monitoring Coalition (ECMC), a partnership of cetacean conservation charities in European waters. The data we all collect is critical in understanding better why animals are stranding across the region and identifying ways of reducing the number of preventable deaths.