28.12.2014
Top-end violence of 2014!

A female common dolphin stranded on Aydıncık (Kefalos) coast of Gökçeada on 26th of December 2014 and it was found that the animal was shot at a close-range with a shotgun. Seven shot holes were found on the body. Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) notified the authorized bodies in order to pursue the subject legally.

At the end of the examination, this individual of common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), whose Mediterranean population is defined as “Endangered (EN)”, was determined to be shot dead by at least single fire from above and at a close-range. Seven shot holes with smooth edges were found on the body and two birdshots were removed from the carcass during necropsy. It was also found that the lungs were disintegrated due to birdshots penetrating the ribs.

TUDAV requested the relevant authorities to conduct a research meticulously to find the perpetrators. TUDAV also notified the authorized bodies through BIMER (Communications center of Prime Ministry). Dr. Arda M. Tonay, Vice Director of TUDAV, underlined the need for inclusion of fishing vessels found in the area during last week in the investigation. These vessels can be determined by satellite tracking system and port visits. He also stated, “Relevant ministries have to make an urgent meeting in order to conserve these endangered animals and create effective protection measures on the subject. Our citizens can also contribute by reporting all stranded dolphins to TUDAV.”

Reward system should be implemented, carrying guns on vessels should be forbidden

Tonay emphasizes that marine mammals living in Turkish waters are protected by the Fisheries Act 1380 as well as international agreements. He suggested public authorities in this way:
“As a recent example in the United States of America, a perpetrator who shot and killed a bottlenose dolphin by an arrow was caught in a short time due to the reward offered. We suggest that relevant ministries should put a reward in case of intentional killing of endangered animals, such as the Mediterranean monk seal. The mentioned monk seal was killed with a firearm in Antalya on 30th of April; however the perpetrators still have not been caught. In addition, according to the notices that we receive from different regions of Turkey, some fishermen who nourish hostile feelings to dolphins, try to shoot them both from shore and boats. We request the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock to forbid all kinds of licensed/unlicensed guns/rifles on fishing vessels and adding this item to amateur/commercial fishing regulations as soon as possible.”

No dolphin – No fish

In the press release titled “No dolphin – No fish” which was published on the TUDAV website last year, TUDAV referred to overfishing activities by saying “We depleted the fish stocks, dolphins did not” and corrected fishermen’s false claims and false information about dolphin populations are increasing. In the same announcement, TUDAV underlines that this phenomenon is observed all over the world due to the decline in fish stock.

Related Resources
1 Perpetrator of Dolphin Crime Found – uk.whales.org-23 December 2014
2 Danyer, E., Aytemiz, I., Özgür Özbek, E., Tonay, A.M. 2013. Preliminary study on a stranding case of Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) on Antalya coast, Turkey, April 2013. J. Black Sea/Mediterr. Environ. 19(2): 278-282.
3 Detailed Report on the Death of the Mediterranean Monk Seal – tudav.org – 5 May 2013
4 Public Announcement – No dolphin – No fish – tudav.org – 30 September 2013