20 Dolphins washed ashore this year already, 'scientists alarmed' in IrelandScientists have expressed alarm at a recent spike in dolphin strandings which has seen almost 20 of the animals recovered on Irish shores in the last month. The number of common dolphins stranded throughout the country since October is close to the amount that should be expected for an entire year, according to marine biologist Dr Simon Berrow. “The number of dolphins we’ve had washed up in the last few weeks is shocking in terms of conservation and management,” said Dr Berrow, a member of the Marine Biodiversity Research Group at Galway Mayo IT (GMIT). “Last year it wasn’t such a big issue, but this year we’re back up to a big peak in strandings. A lot of them have ropes around their tails, they have marks that are consistent with being caught in fishing nets,” added the marine expert, who was part of a team that performed an autopsy on the carcass of a female killer whale found in Tramore on Saturday. “We’ve had 10 strandings of the Cuvier’s beaked whale which is really, really rare. We usually get one every few years, but we’ve had 10 over the last few weeks, and they’ve had six or seven in Scotland as well,” he said. The discovery of the orca whale’s remains was regarded as an intriguing novelty by researchers, but the alarming increase in dolphin and Cuvier’s whale strandings – where the animals found are usually dead – has caused some consternation in the scientific community. Figures compiled by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) illustrate a marked increase in common dolphin strandings since 2010, when just five were reported here. There were around 100 sightings of stranded common dolphins in 2013, and following a lull early last year the numbers now appear to be on the rise. More