A report has highlighted that 2017 was a record breaking year for cetacean strandings in the UK, with 255 animals washing ashore on Cornish beaches alone during that year.

A total of 4,896 harbour porpoises, dolphins and whales (cetaceans) were reported washed up on UK shorelines between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2017, according to a seven-year review published by the UK Government last week.

That represented a 15 per cent increase in strandings, partly due to the increase in short beaked common dolphin strandings in the south west, mainly in Cornwall.

Niki Clear, marine conservation officer of Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: “The south west of the UK is a hot spot for dolphin and porpoise activity, as well as for water users and fisheries.

"By monitoring strandings as well as collecting important sightings, through the Marine Strandings Network and surveys of life dolphins and porpoise through Seaquest Southwest, we are getting a real insight into the health of our incredible marine wildlife and wider environment of Cornwall.”

Bycatch - accidental entanglement in fishing gear - is one of the most common causes of death for all cetaceans around the UK, accounting for 23 per cent of common dolphin and 14 per cent of harbour porpoise deaths.

In Cornwall, there has been an increase in the number of dolphins found with marks and wounds consistent with entanglement in nets and other fishing gear - 20 per cent in 2017 and 31 per cent in 2018, as seen in the latest MSN Strandings report recently published.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust wants to hear from anyone who finds a dead marine animal washed up, by calling the MSN Strandings Hotline on 0234 201 2626.

If you are lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins or porpoise around the coast, let Seaquest Southwest know.

Find out more about the work Cornwall Wildlife Trust is doing to monitor and protect dolphins and porpoise around the Cornish coast, please visit our website

Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network works in partnership with CSIP to record and monitor strandings in Cornwall, as part of the UK wide project.

The county wide network has been recording strandings in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for over 27 years, thanks to the dedication and hard work of hundreds of volunteers.