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Playful dolphins show they are fishermen’s friends

By Sean Axtell

This is the moment a pod of dolphins joined a trawler on its rounds, leaping through the waves on a calm autumn morning.

Fisherman Tom Redshaw, from Lydd, works at the Dungeness fish hut and snack shack, where he catches the fresh fish they sell.

The pod darted towards the boat as Mr Redshaw and his crew were halfway through their shift on Thursday last week.

He said: “It’s always a pleasure to have their company.

“They usually stay a while and like it if you steam the boat hard, and they surf the bow wave, but that day they were definitely on their way somewhere though because they only stayed a few minutes.

“We see them probably once a year, sometimes two or three.

“They usually stay five to 10 minutes if we are steaming fast but tend to get bored and move on if we are slowly working our gear.

“We were about four miles south of Dungeness – it was a flat, calm day, as is usually the case when they come and find us.”

Tom Redshaw, of Lydd, filmed dolphins swimming off the shore at Dungeness
Tom Redshaw, of Lydd, filmed dolphins swimming off the shore at Dungeness
Tom Redshaw, of Lydd, filmed dolphins swimming off the shore at Dungeness
Tom Redshaw, of Lydd, filmed dolphins swimming off the shore at Dungeness

Mr Redshaw added he believes the pod were short-beaked common dolphins, which are often spotted off Britain’s shores.

The trawlers also get a glimpse of the larger bottlenose dolphin, and see common porpoises daily.

It comes after a tired seal pup swam to shore on the Dungeness shingle this summer. When Darren Wood, 46, of Dymchurch Road, New Romney, took his neighbour’s young boys fishing, they hoped to hook a bounty of bass and sea bream.

But to the trio’s disbelief, they were greeted by the furry fellow taking a moment’s rest from the choppy waters.

Made up from miles of shingle, Dungeness is rich with varied and unusual wildlife – the bird variety is nationally renowned.

During the winter, bitterns and bearded tits frequent the reserve, while in the summer, redshanks, lapwing and reedbed birds are a common sight.

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