Fisheries

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th April 2005.

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Photo of Ms Candy Atherton Ms Candy Atherton Labour, Falmouth and Camborne

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dead harbour porpoises have been stranded on the coasts of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset in each of the past five years; and what the cause of these deaths was.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

From 1 January 2000 until 17 March 2005 a total of 352 harbour porpoises were stranded on the coasts of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. Table 1 gives a breakdown for each county. The number of carcases reported is always higher than the number which are suitable for or actually go to post mortem. I have provided a breakdown for each county for each year, and the causes of death where post mortems were carried out can be found in tables 2 to 4.

Strandings data is obtained under the Defra-funded Cetacean and Turtle Strandings Scheme, carried out by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Institute of Zoology and Scottish Agricultural College.

Table 1: Total number of stranded harbour porpoise for 2000—up to 17 March 2005
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Cornwall 20 25 68 40 114 13
Devon 8 13 5 11 21 9
Dorset 2 2 1 1 0 0
Total 30 40 74 52 135 22
Table 2: Results of post mortems for harbour porpoise stranded in Cornwall
Cause of death 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Bycatch 3 3 12 3 26 1
Dystocia or stillborn 0 0 0 0 1 0
Gastropathy and/or enteropathy 1 0 0 0 0 0
Live stranding 0 1 0 0 0 0
Not established 0 2 4 3 2 1
Others 0 0 0 1 0 0
Physical trauma 0 2 0 2 0 1
Physical trauma (Bottlenose dolphin kills) 0 1 0 0 1 0
Pneumonia, parasitic 0 2 2 1 0 1
Pneumonia, parasitic and bacterial 0 1 0 0 0 0
Pneumonia, parasitic and mycotic 0 1 0 0 0 0
Starvation (neonate) 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 4 13 18 10 31 4
Table 3: results of post mortems for harbour porpoise stranded in Devon
Cause of death 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Bycatch 1 3 3 1 0 1
Gastropathy and/or enteropathy 0 0 0 0 1 0
Live stranding 0 0 0 0 1 0
Not established 1 0 0 0 0 0
Physical trauma 0 2 0 0 0 0
Physical trauma (Bottlenose dolphin kills) 0 0 0 0 2 0
Pneumonia, parasitic 1 2 0 0 0 0
Pneumonia, parasitic and bacterial 1 0 0 0 0 0
Total 4 7 3 1 4 1
Table 4: Results of post mortems for harbour porpoise stranded in Dorset
Cause of death 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Bycatch 0 1 1 0 0 0
Physical trauma 1 0 0 0 0 0
Physical trauma (Bottlenose dolphin kills) 0 1 0 0 0 0
Total 1 2 1 0 0 0

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No1 person thinks not

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