Friday, August 22, 2008

New device could save dolphins' lives!

Loads more dolphins could soon be spotted swimming around the UK, thanks to a new hi-tech gadget.

Dolphin groups around Britain have been getting much smaller and wildlife experts think it's because they're getting tangled up in fishing nets.

Now scientists have developed the Pinger device which sends sonic signals to the dolphins, telling them to steer clear of any nearby nets.

It's already worked on porpoises, now it's hoped it can work on dolphins too.

Fishermen in Cornwall, in the south west of England, are among the first in the UK to try the device and, if it's a success, it could be used in other areas too.

In the past, ocean experts thought pair-trawling - which is when two massive fishing boats drag huge nets strung between them through the sea - was a big threat to dolphins.

That's because as well as catching fish, they accidently net the mammals too - something that's known as by-catching.

Now experts think nets which stay on one place near the shore, called static nets, could also be part of the problem, which the Pinger could stop.

Wildlife expert Joana Doyle said: "The Pinger has been used to deter harbour porpoises from nets in the past and it has been very successful.

"It's massively reduced by-catch rates in a lot of fisheries globally."

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"