Michael Williamson (
Thu, 25 Apr 1996 09:51:50 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Thu, 25 Apr 96 11:30:00 UTC 0000


  BUCHAREST, (Apr. 21) IPS - Scientists here have warned that dolphins will
become extinct in the Black Sea if nothing is done to end the threat posed by
pollution and the legacy of years of hunting.
   "Something must be done to stop the disappearance of the dolphins," says
Alexandru Bologa, scientific researcher at the Romanian Institute for Marine
Research (IRCM), based in the port city of Constanta, about 250 kilometers
south-east of Bucharest.
   According to Bologa, the dolphin population has dwindled to just one percent
of the number recorded 46 years ago. In 1950, he said, one million dolphins
belonging to three species lived in the Black Sea. However, their numbers
started decreasing soon after.
   By 1970 there were just 70,000 of these highly intelligent aquatic mammals
left, and by 1995 the school had been reduced to 10,000. If the present rate
of destruction continues dolphins will cease to exist in the Black Sea by the
turn of the century, he said.
   He blames the pollution of the Black Sea and the cruel massacre of the
during the former communist regime, under its grimly-titled "program of
economic capitalization of dolphins."
   Romanian researchers have already taken some steps to save the dolphins.
campaign is being supported by a number of regional and international
organizations including the Mediterranean Sea Scientific Exploration Group,
the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
   As many scientific reports show, the water in the Black Sea is strongly
polluted by a variety of chemicals. One of the biggest sources of pollution is
the Danube river. It flows through six countries over close to 3,000
kilometers between its origins in Germany and where it falls into the Black
Sea in Romania.
   In its path it carries various kinds of chemicals that either are dumped by
factories and other industrial installations or seep through the earth from
large agricultural centers. Shipping in the Black Sea also contributes to the
pollution, causing considerable amounts of oil spillage.
   Ecologists estimate that approximately 30,000 tons of phosphorus and three
quarter million tons of nitrates are poured into the Black Sea annually.
   "This is quite dangerous not only for dolphins, but also for the entire
of the sea,"said Bologa, who urges the government to endorse the "polluter
pays" principle. "The people who ignore the most elementary rules for
protection and contribute to the pollution of water should be sued or fined."
   According to Bologa, if effective steps are not taken to protect the
then in the future one will only be able to see live dolphins at the
"dolphinarium" (a public amusement center) in Constanta.