oalkeeper Ben Foster is backing a “not in our nets” wildlife campaign to highlight the plight of whales and dolphins dying in fishing nets.
The Watford FC keeper is supporting the campaign by wildlife charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) to raise awareness of the deaths of marine mammals when they get tangled up in fishing gear.
The charity says that globally hundreds of thousands of dolphins, porpoises and whales suffocate to death when they are accidentally caught as “bycatch” in nets used to catch fish species and cannot get to the surface to breathe.
More than 1,000 a year die in UK waters alone, according to WDC – roughly one for every goal hitting the net in a Premier League season.
Foster is showing his support for the campaign by using a specially designed and 100% sustainable towel in a number of Premier League fixtures.
He has also recorded a 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 as part of efforts to promote the campaign.
He said: “It’s my job to keep things out of nets – to make important saves.
“So I got involved with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation #NotInOurNets campaign to use my role in football as a platform for change, to help save whales and dolphins and keep them out of nets.
“Around 1,000 goals hit the back of the net in a Premier League season, and more than 1,000 dolphins and porpoises die in UK fishing nets every year.
“By putting pressure on our fisheries ministers, we can keep dolphins safe in UK seas. Follow @whalesorg, share their posts, use the hashtag #NotInOurNets and go to whales.org/notinournetsto take action.”
WDC says bycatch is the biggest killer of dolphins and whales worldwide, and that while the UK and devolved governments have a legal duty to prevent these deaths, too little has been done for too long.
The charity is calling for ministers to act urgently to set clear and ambitious goals to prevent bycatch and timelines for achieving the targets.