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Dolphin deaths prompts fishing line warning

The calf of an adult dolphin that died last week after being entangled in fishing line in the Swan River has also died.

On Monday evening, Parks and Wildlife Service staff from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) retrieved the body of Splash, the 18-month-old female calf of Highnitch, near the Perth Flying Squadron Yacht Club.

Splash has now been transported to Murdoch University for assessment and necropsy.

DBCA Rivers and Estuaries Principal Scientist Dr Kerry Trayler said both dolphins had been entangled in fishing line, which had contributed to their deaths.

“This mother and calf had severe entanglements for several months, with Splash having fishing line wrapped around her tail fluke and Highnitch having line entangled around her tail fluke and dorsal fin,” she said.

“These animals are highly mobile and intelligent, and despite efforts to intervene over an extended period only part of the entanglement was able to be removed from Highnitch’s dorsal fin earlier this month.”

Dr Trayler said the incidents highlighted the hazards associated with discarded fishing line and tackle for the 22 dolphins and their four calves and other wildlife that reside in the Swan and Canning rivers.

“Discarded fishing line can have significant impacts on our wildlife, as it doesn’t break down in the environment and can cause severe entanglements leading to death,” she said.

“We urge people who visit our rivers to dispose of unwanted fishing line by either taking it home or putting it in the fishing line bins that are located at popular jetties, fishing platforms, traffic bridges and foreshores across the Riverpark.”

Any sightings of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife should be reported to the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055. For more information on fishing line bins, visit