Dolphin Violence in Istanbul Strait

A juvenile female bottlenose dolphin was stranded on the Bebek coast of Istanbul Strait (Bosphorus) on May 26, 2015. Marine mammal specialists found that the animal was killed with a shotgun that left six bullet holes on her body. Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) notified the authorities in order to pursue the subject legally.

At the end of the examination, this individual bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), whose Black Sea population is defined as “Endangered (EN)”, was determined to be shot dead by at least a single fire sidewise. Six bullet holes with smooth edges were identified on the body and one birdshot was removed from the carcass during necropsy. It was also found that the lungs were disintegrated due to birdshots penetrating the ribs, eventually causing internal bleeding.

TUDAV demanded the relevant authorities to conduct an elaborate investigation to find out the perpetrators. TUDAV also notified the authorities through BIMER (Prime Ministry Information and Communication Center). Dr. Arda M. Tonay, Vice Director of TUDAV, underlined the need to include fishing vessels that have been active in the Strait in the last 48 hours in the investigation. “Relevant ministries have to have an urgent meeting in order to protect these endangered animals, take effective protection measures and enable judicial proceedings in line with current national and international laws.”

Carrying guns on fishing vessels should be forbidden
Tonay emphasized that marine mammals living in Turkish waters are protected by the Fisheries Act 1380 as well as international agreements. “We suggest that relevant ministries should finally put a reward in cases of intentional killing of endangered animals. Previously, a monk seal was killed with a firearm in Antalya on April 30, 2013 and a common dolphin was killed with a shotgun in Çanakkale on December 26, 2014 but their perpetrators have not been caught to this day. Now and then, we also receive reports from different regions of Turkey that some fishermen with hostile feelings towards dolphins try to shoot them both from shores and by boats. We demand Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock to forbid all kinds of licensed/unlicensed guns/rifles on fishing vessels and add this article to amateur/commercial fishing regulations as soon as possible.”