By Benjamin Flowers: Today, the Ministry of Blue Economy & Civil Aviation and the Belize Fisheries Department issued a joint statement condemning the killing of a Bottlenose dolphin in Northern Belize in the vicinity of Progresso and Little Belize Lagoon.
Authorities say that a team from the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) confirmed the report of a dead dolphin in the area and that it died sometime around July 17. The team recovered the carcass that had a portion of the snout missing from crocodiles feeding on it.
The SACD team conducted an on-site necropsy and confirmed that the cause of death was due to a shotgun wound found approximately 20 cm below the dorsal fin. Six pellets were recovered during the necropsy from nine holes left by presumably a 12 gauge 00 (“double-ought”) buck shell shotgun.
The Ministry and Fisheries Department said that they were both saddened and outraged by the incident, noting that Bottlenose dolphins are protected under the Fisheries Resources Act No. 7 of 2020.
“Bottlenose dolphins are highly intelligent and social marine mammals. We denounce the senseless killing of the animal and lament the loss of this valuable animal as its species is a contributor to Belize’s biodiversity and has high ecological importance,” said Acting Fisheries Administrator, Rigoberto Quintana.
The Fisheries Department also reminded the public that anyone found to have killed or to have in their possession a marine mammal commits an offence punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. Anyone with knowledge of this or any other incidents regarding a marine mammal is urged to report it by calling the Fisheries Department at 224-4552 or by emailing email@example.com.