Cornwall's Marine Strandings Appeal Receives Outstanding Support

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Harbour porpoise at Perranporth by Jenny Lord

Since launching its Marine Strandings Appeal in January, Cornwall Wildlife Trust has received an incredible reaction from people in Cornwall and around the world, and many people have shared their own devastating experiences with the Trust of discovering these majestic creatures washed up dead on their local beaches.

So far 60% of the £16,000 Marine Strandings Appeal target has been met and although the Trust is extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed, they urgently need to raise more, in order to complete this important work. Without hard evidence, nothing can be done, except to keep counting the bodies, and these animals, says the Trust, deserve better.

Already funding is beginning to make a difference. Because of generous donations to the Appeal, work has begun to assess the strandings data from 2017. Together with both fisheries and other environmental information, the Trust can now start to answer questions as to why 2017 saw the worst year in 15 years for marine strandings along the Cornish coastline.

Recording stranded animals provides the Trust with vital information to help determine the cause of death and identify threats to their survival. Bycatch, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets is a key local issue and can be determined from specific injuries such as encircling marks, cuts to the fins and mouth, and broken beaks.

But there are other causes of death such as pollution, starvation and even deadly bullying by bigger animals, which results in broken bones, bruising and serious cuts called ‘rake’ marks. Some of these threats the Trust can’t do anything about, but there are simple solutions to others, such as using pingers, acoustic deterrent devices on fishing nets to reduce the risk of bycatch.

Ruth Williams, the Trust’s Marine Conservation Manager is attending a meeting in London, to meet decision-makers and researchers, to discuss the problem of cetacean bycatch, and to highlight recent events in Cornwall.

Ruth Williams says,

“I am hopeful that we will start to get the answers we need to enable us to work proactively to better protect our dolphins and porpoise. Bycatch is still going on in local fisheries and has not gone away. I am pleased that the Institute of Zoology is keeping this issue on the agenda by organising this meeting and discussing options at this strategic level. I will present the research we carry out through the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network, our dedicated volunteers, and the dolphins and porpoise we are trying to protect”.

“We are making progress, but have a long way to go and I urge you to donate now if you haven’t already done so, thank you!”

Gillian Burke, BBC Springwatch Presenter & MSN Volunteer says,

“Marine mammal strandings can have natural causes but, increasingly, human activity is behind these tragic events. The Strandings Network is a well-organised and highly effective project that is not only shedding light on the problem but giving us the means to do something about it.”

How to donate to the Marine Strandings Appeal:
• Securely, online at www.justgiving.com/cornwallwildlifetrust
• Call us on 01872 273939 (credit card donations only)
• Text STRA18 £5 or £10 to 70070 to donate to Cornwall Wildlife Trust and make a difference today!

Have you seen a stranding? Let us know, call our hotline 0345 2012626.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Marine Strandings Network is our licensed recorder for all marine strandings in Cornwall and consists of a team of over 126 dedicated volunteers. We run a 24 hour, 7 day a week hotline, which takes calls from the public when they find a dead animal on the coast.