The number of whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings has more than doubled in the UK in the past decade.
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The reasons cited for strandings include sickness, disorientation, natural mortality, extreme weather conditions, or injury. One of the most recent and high-profile causes of death has been cited as “bycatch”, the accidental capture in animals in fishing nets. Such incidents have prompted efforts to ban pair trawling, in which a large net is strung between trawlers, in British waters, amid reports that it has greatly increased strandings of dolphins and porpoises. Environmental campaigners have blamed the deaths of thousands of dolphins on the technique.