‘Wall of death’ in the Aegean

The rotting carcasses of over a dozen dolphins and a small whale were found yesterday caught in an illegal drift net believed to have been abandoned by Turkish fishermen in the northeastern Aegean. A Merchant Marine Ministry release said the net, located 3 kilometers off Samothrace, was brought in because it was a hazard to ships. Thirteen dolphins, a small whale, a shark and 19 tunas were found dead in the 1-kilometer-long mesh, together with smaller fry. «An investigation is under way to locate the net's owner and impose strict sanctions, as fishing with drift nets is forbidden in Greece,» the ministry said. Samothrace fishermen said the nets most probably belonged to a Turkish boat and had been carried by currents into Greek waters. The local mayor, Giorgos Hanos, described the use of drift nets as an «environmental disaster» and called for European Union action against Turkey on the matter. The EU has banned drift nets - which can be several kilometers long and have been dubbed «walls of death» by environmentalists - in the Mediterranean.