Delphinus delphis

Range & Status

Common Dolphins are abundant and widely distributed in the eastern north Atlantic. In UK waters, it is common in the western approaches to the English Channel and the southern Irish Sea (particularly off Pembrokeshire) and around the Inner Hebrides north to Skye. It is also common off the coast of west of Ireland. Occasionally, the species occurs further north and east. It is generally rare in the southern North Sea and eastern portion of the Channel. There is no clear evidence of a recent change in population, however, records of Common Dolphins were more frequent in northern Britain during the 1990s than they were in the previous decade. This suggests that there has possibly been a northward extension of their range in recent times. (UK Biodiversity Group, 1999.).

Strandings

Strandings in the region were recorded in the following years: 1915 (5), 1920 (1), 1921 (2), 1923 (1), 1924 (1), 1925 (1), 1926 (2), 1927 (4), 1929 (3), 1930 (1), 1932 (1), 1933 (5), 1934 (4), 1935 (1), 1939 (2), 1945 (1), 1946 (1), 1947 (1), 1953 (1), 1956 (1), 1961 (1), 1967 (1), 1968 (2), 1970 (3), 1972 (4), 1973 (4), 1974 (2), 1975 (2), 1976 (5), 1977 (7), 1978 (5), 1979 (2), 1980 (5), 1981 (3), 1982 (3), 1983 (10), 1984 (4), 1985 (11), 1986 (4), 1987 (3), 1988 (2), 1989 (8), 1990 (10), 1991 (13), 1992 (67), 1993 (34), 1994 (23), 1995 (10), 1996 (29), 1997 (18), 1998 (21), 1999 (26), 2000 (36), 2001 (56), 2002 (70), 2003 (131) 2004 (72), 2005 (43), 2006 (108), 2007 (41), 2008 (46). It is now accepted that the majority of these strandings are due to fishing bycatches in Cornwall, with the exception of 26 dolphins that were found dead in a mass stranding event in the Percuil River at Froe, near Falmouth, on June 9th 2008. An additional two animals that live-stranded were euthanased and eight more were successfully rescued and refloated in this incident.

Sightings

Numerous sightings every year between 1994 and 2007.

Conservation

Listed as a species of Least Concern. (Hammond et al ., 2008. Delphinus delphis . In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. . Downloaded on 18 March 2009.) A UK Biodiversity Grouped Plan species.