The people at Sea Shepherd are doing incredibly valuable work publicising the indiscriminate slaughter of dolphins in Japan and the Faroe Islands.

Now they have shone a spotlight on the massacre of dolphins that is occurring every day, right on our doorstep and on a far greater scale.

The dirty secret of how France exterminates its dolphins

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.

That’s ten thousand dolphins in just three months, in one year, in one area. Why is this happening?

A large part of the answer is sea bass. In December to March, bass form large spawning aggregations in the Bay of Biscay, essential to regenerate the bass stock. The dolphins mix with the bass since their diet is exactly the same. But bass sell for big bucks and these spawning aggregations are an easy target for trawler-owners who care more about short-term profits than the sustainability of our seas. They put out their nets and trawl straight through these spawning bass, even though they know they will also catch and kill countless dolphins. In 2004, the UK banned this trawling within its 12-mile limit, but sadly France has so far failed to follow the UK’s lead.

The Northern sea bass stock has crashed since 2010 and French small-scale fishermen have warned: “worryingly, similar trends are being witnessed by French fishers in the Bay of Biscay, where declines in catches have been witnessed over the last 3 years.”. So this targeting of spawning bass in the Bay of Biscay is doubly unsustainable: not only does it put at risk the future of the Southern bass stock, but it results in the agonising deaths of thousands of dolphins each year.

We can stop this happening: only buy sea bass caught by rod and line; and respect the spawning season – don’t eat sea bass from December to March.

You can also help by supporting the campaign “Stop the mass slaughter of dolphins by the fishing industry in EU waters