An alarmingly large number of dead dolphins are being washed up at various beaches of Teknaf as some fishermen are allegedly killing these dolphins and dumping the corpses at the sea.
These dolphins are being killed just for the sake of killing, as there is no demand for dolphin meat in the local market, local people say.
Environmentalists fear these ruthless killings of dolphins may cause significant damage to the biodiversity of the respective areas.
According to residents, at least 15 dead dolphins were found in different parts of the beach in the past week. All of these dolphins had wound marks on their bodies.
During a visit to the Maheshkhalia Para, Dargarchara and Razarchara area of the beach, eight dead dolphins were seen at the shore.
Abdur Rashid and Nazrul Islam, two Dargarchara fishermen, said three dolphins washed ashore a few days ago in the Dargarchara beach. The whole area is covered with pungent odor of decomposition as those dolphins were not buried.
St Martin’s Union Parishad chairman Nurul Amin confirmed the sighting of a dead dolphin at the Poshchimpara area of the beach a couple of days ago.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, assistant conservator of Cox’s Bazar (south forest division, said dolphin killing is a punishable offence under the wildlife act. Fishermen should release the dolphins caught on their nets instead of killing them, he added.
Although locals are pointing fingers at the fishermen, the chairman of the Teknaf boat owners association Mamtaz Uddin denied any involvement.”The dolphins caught in the nets during fishing are being released unharmed,” he said.
Dr Mohammad Shah Alam, professor of the Zoology department at Chittagong University, said, “Dolphins do not harm human beings. The fishermen have to be informed about the laws and punishments of this crime, but they need to be made aware of the environmental impacts first.”
Deepak Sharma, chairman of the Cox’s Bazar District Forest and Environment Protection Council , echoed the same . “Meetings and discussion with the fishermen should be arranged to raise awareness about the issue,” he said.
Sardar Shariful Islam, deputy assistant dirctor of the department of environment, said legal measurements against dolphin killing will be implemented very soon.
Source: Prothom Alo