A GROUP of dolphins found dead on a beach died from injuries sustained when they became entangled in fishing gear, post-mortems have concluded.
The 13 common dolphins – which are a protected species – were found dead along the Mayo coast in January prompting an investigation from the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
In all cases, the deaths were consistent with "accidental by-catch in trawl-type fishing gear".
Common dolphins are at risk of entanglement in fishing nets as they feed on shoals close to boats.
Minister for Arts and Heritage Jimmy Deenihan said officials from his department and the Department of Agriculture were meeting to examine what further action could be taken to minimise the risks.
Simon Berrow, of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, has called on the EU Commission to enforce its own regulations.
Boats over 15 metres long are required to have observers to quantify by-catches on trawlers.