HIGHER numbers of bottlenose dolphins around the Balearics might delight animal lovers and tourists, but it is causing serious alarm among fishermen who find themselves battling the startling intelligence of the mammals at sea.
The Balearic Confederation of Fishermen claim the dolphins are breaking through their nets to release, steal and eat their catch, causing more than €20,000 in losses. They are demanding aid to offset these losses and point to an EU directive supporting their claim. The fisheries ministry say they will respond when a legal case is put forward.
Bottlenose dolphins are renowned for their intelligence and have the second largest brain to mass ratio of any mammal on earth, behind only humans. They are, however, considered a vulnerable species, frequently being killed in tuna-hunting drives and suffering from exposure to heavy metal contamination.