16 August 2007

Kalamos: one more bottlenose dolphin entangled

Yesterday, August 15th, 2007, a bottlenose dolphin from Kalamos was found entangled in a piece of trammel net by Tethys researchers Marina Costa and Annalise Petroselli. The net apparently got stuck into the dolphin’s blowhole, possibly as the animal inhaled while being wrapped in a loose portion of net.

The dolphin is now dragging a long portion of net, continuing well beyond its flukes. This affects its swimming pattern and reduces its present chances of survival.

While entanglement in the blowhole may look like a rare event, there is another bottlenose dolphin around Kalamos, ‘Pira’, who is in a similar situation. Fortunatly, in the case of Pira the piece of net coming out of the blowhole is much smaller.

The third bottlenose dolphin from Kalamos having serious entanglement problems likely died in the past months. This animal, nicknamed ‘Zoi’, was first observed two years ago as a calf, with fishing gear tightly wrapped around its head. Last year Zoi’s rostrum and head were devastated as the dolphin grew bigger. This year Zoi was not resighted and Zoi’s mother, ‘Lara’, was seen swimming alone.

There are only about 20 bottlenose dolphin living in a 1000 km2 area around the island of Kalamos, Greece. Entanglement in fishing gear may represent a significant source of mortality that threatens the survival of this small community.

Around Kalamos, overfishing and bycatch in fishing gear are thought to be primary reasons behind the decline of the only other cetacean species found there, short-beaked common dolphins, that dropped from about 120 to less than 20 animals between 1995-2006.

Giovanni Bearzi

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