Three dead striped dolphins, two adult females and a juvenile male, were found off the southeast coast of Samos island. It is estimated that the strong winds carried them there from another part of the Aegean, after they had been drifting for at least three days. The Stranding Response team of the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation arrived on site to investigate the causes of their death.
The autopsy conducted did not reveal any pathological conditions that might have resulted in the dolphins’ death. Based on the evidence of the incident, it can be estimated that, in all likelihood, more dolphins may have been killed. However, the tens of miles of coastline of the area and harsh weather conditions have not allowed, as yet, the confirmation of such an estimation through the discovery of more stranded dolphins.
It is noteworthy that all three dolphins bore the same marks from having been tied up at the base of their tail, while some had their fins cut off. Based on the available facts, it is considered likely that the animals were trapped in seine nets targeting tuna in the open sea and they were intentionally caught and killed, after being trapped. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have detected similar incidents in that particular area.
These dolphins were members of a striped dolphin pod, usually found in the marine area between Samos, Ikaria, and Chios, which has been monitored by the Archipelagos Institute for over two decades. Striped dolphins are found in large pods in the open sea, usually far from the shore, while they have never been observed approaching fishing gear.
The Archipelagos Institute, constantly present on the Greek seas throughout the year, will continue its hard work for the protection of marine life. However, the problems cannot be solved unless the appropriate institutional protective measures are adopted and implemented, and unless we all realise that the protection of the environment is a responsibility we all share, affecting us all individually.