BOATMEN have called for tighter regulations on tuna fishing as dolphins in the Bay of Gibraltar are at risk of serious injury from the sport.
“There’s been more tuna in the bay in the last two or three years,” Dolphin Safari partner Tim Montgomery told the Olive Press.
“Lots of annoying boats come from La Linea and when they’re trying to catch tuna their nets are getting mixed up with dolphins who are hunting the same fish.”
In August, the Gibraltar Government increased the quota for Bluefin tuna fishing from 13.6 tonnes to 19.81 tonnes.
An artificial lure known as ‘popping’ that is regularly used by tuna anglers was also of particular concern to Montgomery.
“It’s a real danger to the dolphins, I think it should be stopped,” he said.
The Department of the Environment Sustainability, Heritage and Climate Change [DESHCC] has warned fishermen that ‘popping’ for tuna can cause serious harm to dolphins.
The technique has also been prohibited inside the Dolphin Protection Zone, which covers the Bay of Gibraltar.
But local boatmen are still concerned by the prohibited use of popping by fishermen from Spain.
Since 1960 the number of dolphins and whales in the Strait of Gibraltar and Mediterranean has halved, according to a BBC documentary filmed in Southern Spain last year.