SOMETHING you rarely hear about, unless you make it your business to find out, is long-line fishing. This is the practice of two trawlers, 40 miles apart, stretching hooked lines between them just below the ocean surface.

The lines catch fish in large numbers and also trap, and subject to a slow, agonising death, other marine life, principally dolphins, turtles and seabirds.

Long-line fishing is fiendishly cruel and ecologically catastrophic.

It is the cause of what we must now accept - without immediate preemptive action to stop it - as the inevitable extinction of the grey albatrosses of the southern ocean.

As for the dolphin victims, we all know, or should, what wonderful and truly loveable creatures dolphins are, with an intelligence approaching, and a moral sense seemingly surpassing, our own.

Some nations, by no means all, have laws against long-line fishing - laws which, however, are flouted with impunity. As a matter of urgency there needs to be an international agreement to ban long-line fishing - and to make that ban effective.

Tony Kelly, Crook, Co Durham.