Premier League goalkeeper Ben Foster is leading a campaign to raise awareness of thousands of whales and dolphins dying in fishing nets.
The Watford and England keeper is leading the campaign ‘Not in our nets’ to raise public awareness on bycatch, the issue of thousands of dolphins and whales dying in fishing nets each year.
The 39-year-old explained that almost as many goals hit the back of the net in a Premier League season as dolphins and whales are dying each year in the UK.
He said: “Around 1,000 goals hit the back of the net in a Premier League season, and more than 1,000 dolphins and whales die in UK fishing nets every year.
“By putting pressure on our fisheries ministers, we can keep dolphins safe in UK seas.”
‘Not in our nets’ is part of a wider campaign from global marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation, designed to highlight the issue of bycatch and put pressure on fisheries ministers to prevent these needless deaths.
Danny Groves, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Communications manager said: “Entanglement in fishing gear is the biggest killer of dolphins, porpoises, and whales globally, and it’s a major issue in UK seas.
“It’s a horrible way to die, fishers don’t want it to happen, and many people are unaware of the accidental suffering that takes place to catch the fish they eat.
“Ministers must commit to targets & deadlines in the Joint Fisheries Statement to meet the legal duty to end bycatch.”
For NOAA Fisheries, bycatch refers to “discarded catch of marine species and unobserved mortality due to a direct encounter with fishing vessels and gear”.
Ben Foster will show his support for ‘Not in our nets’ by using a specially designed and 100% sustainable towel during a number of Watford’s upcoming Premier League fixtures.
He has also recorded a special message for fans on his ‘The Cycling GK’ YouTube channel and has signed a number of the limited edition dolphin towels, which will be given away to fans to help promote the campaign.
He added: “It’s my job to keep things out of nets, to make important saves.
“So I got involved with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation ‘Not in our nets’ campaign to use my role in football as a platform for change, to help save whales and dolphins and keep them out of nets.”
According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, preventing bycatch could lead to a healthier ocean, which would lead to fighting the climate crisis.