A Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica; locally known as shushuk) has died due to use of illegal current net for fishing in Pashru river in Rampal upazila of Bagerhat.
The eight-foot long marine mammal, also known as Gangetic dolphin, was found dead and floating in the river at Bara Durgapur area in the upazila on Wednesday night and was later recovered, reports our Bagerhat correspondent.
“A net was found attached to its teeth. The shushuk died of suffocation after being entangled in fishing net,” said Md Madinatul Ahasan, divisional forest officer.
“Shushuk and Irrawaddy dolphins are often found dead being stuck in illegal fishing nets. Especially in the Sundarbans and adjacent coastal rivers, these two species are found relatively more, and are in higher risk of getting killed due to use of banned fishing nets and river pollution,” said Md Nur Alam Sheikh, water keeper of Pashur river.
‘‘The presence of dolphins in any river is a very reliable determinant of ecology, biodiversity and natural health. Two species of dolphins can be found in the rivers of Bangladesh – Gangetic (shushuk) and Irrawaddy. Among these, the presence of freshwater shushuk is found in small rivers of the country. The uncontrolled use of fishing nets and poisons are making these aquatic animals endangered,’’ he added.
Between 2007 and 2013, 90 aquatic mammals have been killed after being stuck in illegal current nets in the country, including 63 Gangetic and 16 Irrawaddy dolphins, a forest official told The Daily Star wishing anonymity.
Of these, 40 Gangetic and 12 Irrawaddy dolphins died in the Sundarbans alone, the official added.