A sharp reduction in the Irrawaddy dolphin population in Songkhla Lake is worrying marine experts.
Santi Nilawat of the Marine and Coastal Research Centre said yesterday at least 81 dolphins had died over the past 20 years, with 10 dying between January and September this year.
The major cause of death is dolphins becoming entangled in fishing nets, he said. The latest survey found there were about 30 dolphins living in the lake. Mr Santi called on fishermen to be careful when fishing in the lake from this month to January as it was the gestation period for female dolphins.
Dolphins need larger feeding grounds during this period, so they stray from the 100 square kilometres declared an Irrawaddy dolphin protection zone to search for food.
This increases the risk of being entangled in fishing nets, he said.