The strong and persistent southerly winds experienced over recent days washed out an adult bottlenose dolphin which showed obvious signs of abuse on the shores of Samos. Researchers from the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation immediately made their way to the area where they carried out an autopsy on site. Based on the prevailing weather conditions, we have come to assume that the dolphin was killed in the region of the northern Dodecanese and was eventually washed out by marine currents on the southern shores of Samos.
A significant observation is that the dolphin’s tail was tied with a rope – obviously, a human action – while there were additionally lacerations on the dolphin’s body, allowing it to sink and have such a violent killing remain undetected. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event but common practice among a minority of fishermen in many regions of the Greek seas. Through civilian complaints, we have reports of particular fishing vessels and fishermen that cause intentional killings; however, we are looking for further evidence in order to be able to have solid proof of the aforementioned disgusting actions.
It is a paradox that such incidents take place in Greece, where in antiquity the killing of dolphins was punishable with the death penalty. Dolphins were then not protected for their beauty, but rather for their value as regulators of marine ecosystems, while as superior predators, they also have an important role in the filtering of fish stocks.
Nowadays, although we euphemistically consider ourselves civilized, citizens and state alike – the latter carrying the largest responsibility – we often choose to sit back and take on the role of spectator in the slaughter of rare species of our seas. The Archipelagos Institute, through its actions, legal intervention and initiatives, with the support of a dynamic network of aware citizens, has been endeavoring for years to put an end to such unacceptable intentional killings. This is, however, not enough – further effective initiatives from organizations and citizens all over Greece are needed in order to make it absolutely clear that our society will not tolerate the slaughter of wildlife by a small minority of our fellow citizens.