Dolphins are slaughtered by the thousands off the coast of Peru for shark bait. Photo: Reuters

By Benita Matilda
24 October 2013

(Science World Report) – An undercover investigation by a conservation organization has brought to light the indiscriminate killing of thousands of dolphins off the coast of Peru where they are used as shark bait, despite the fact that the practice is outlawed in Peru since 1996.

The video of a fisherman harpooning and skinning the dolphin was recorded and released by a London based Ecologist Film Unit. The non-profit news organization conducted an undercover investigation in which they travelled aboard a shark fishing vessel and recorded the macabre practise. They claim that dolphins are slaughtered throughout Peru.

The video shows how a shark is caught with the help of dolphin..The fishermen chop-off the fish's head and use a knife to peel its skin. They then cut the dolphin into strips and use them as baits to catch sharks.

According to Stefan Austermuhle, executive director of the animal conservation group Mundo Azul said, "even though dolphin killings have been outlawed by Peru's legislature since 1996, fishermen have continued to target the mammals. He estimated more than 10,000 dolphins are being killed every year in Peruvian waters."

The latest report has caused shock and outrage. The government of Peru is planning to take strict measures to curb the massive slaughtering of dolphins.

"Just minutes after putting out a network posting I had received pledges to undersign a statement to the government of Peru demanding enforcement of laws already on the books making it illegal to kill dolphins," Hardy Jones, executive director of BlueVoice said in a statement.

Jones fears that Peru could be the next Japan- a country recognized as the world's villain in slaughtering dolphins. He is glad that the Peru government is not ignoring the issue and is willing to create an action plan to fight   this barbaric slaughter of dolphins.

Austermuhle argues that as long as shark trade exists, dolphin killing will continue. It is possible to control the sale of dolphin meat, but not its use as shark bait. There is no solution to dolphin killing without controlling the shark fishery.

Austermuhle concludes saying, "The existing data is enough to declare an immediate and unlimited shark fishing ban till scientific studies show the recuperation of the population." [more]

Dolphins Slaughtered by Thousands off Coast of Peru For Shark Bait [VIDEO]


A harpooned dolphin bleeds on the deck of a fisherman's boat off the coast of Peru. Photo: Mundo Azul / BlueVoice

By Alexis Manning
24 October 2013

(National Geographic) – Dolphins in Peru are having their lives cut short as fishermen take to the seas, illegally harpooning and killing the animals in order to harvest their skin for shark bait.

Sharks are a profitable commodity to fishermen, as their meat has long been considered an expensive delicacy in Asia, and now, a new report by the investigative group and conservation NGO Mundo Azul suggests that this shark meat demand is indirectly fueling another tragedy in our oceans: the slaughter of more than 15,000 dolphins each year in Peru alone.

Undercover reporters were embedded with the fishermen who kill the dolphins and recorded the graphic techniques they use: Fishermen track dolphin pods, and when they’re within shooting distance, they will aim a harpoon into the group and fire. Once they’ve hit their target, the fishermen will hoist the dolphin onto their boat and slice off the animals’ skin, sometimes while it is still alive. Other times, the animal is clubbed to death.

“I just went numb looking at the pitiful dolphin being battered with a club,” Stefan Austermühle, the president of Mundo Azul and an undercover reporter himself, said in an interview with Blue Voice, the organization that funded the mission. “All I could do was continue recording the event in the hope that making the world aware of this tragedy can somehow bring an end to it.”

While hunting dolphins is technically illegal in Peru, Austermühle calls it an “open secret” in the fishing industry, with little to no enforcement. The practice was outlawed in 1996, but it is rarely enforced, he said.

At its peak, nearly 20,000 dolphins were being killed in Peru each year, Mundo Azul estimates. Despite the threat of incarceration or seizure of their fishing licenses, fishermen continue to catch dolphins.

And the slaughter continues.

In other countries, where there are no specific laws to protect small cetaceans, including dolphins and porpoises, the killing is left entirely unchecked.

Perhaps the most well known occurrence of dolphin killing is in Taiji, Japan, the city made infamous by the 2010 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. In Taiji, dolphins are gathered and killed—not for shark bait, but for human consumption and for selling to marine parks. [more]

Dolphin Slaughter Fueled by Illegal Shark Trade


By Cindy Y. Rodriguez and Rafael Romo, CNN
23 October 2013

(CNN) – Off Peru's Pacific coast, thousands of dolphins are being slaughtered to be used solely as shark bait -- despite the practice being outlawed by the South American country.

The London-based Ecologist Film Unit recently recorded one of the hunts in an undercover investigation and released its material.

On a crisp, sunny day, the group joins a fishing vessel as it goes through rough water riding closer and closer to dusky dolphins swimming under the ship's bow. The crew aims to plunge a harpoon into the pod, assuring it travels all the way through the body of one of the mammals.

Bleeding profusely, the dolphin is hauled on board and almost immediately dies on the deck of the vessel. With his sharpened knife, a Peruvian fisherman then peels the skin off the dolphin's back and carefully cuts the severed body into thin slices.

Even though dolphin killings have been outlawed by Peru's legislature since 1996, Stefan Austermuhle, executive director of the animal conservation group Mundo Azul, said fishermen have continued to target the mammals. He estimated more than 10,000 dolphins are being killed every year in Peruvian waters.

Despite the law prohibiting the human consumption and sales of dolphin meat, Mudo Azul asserts there's been weak law enforcement and lack of awareness.

"In recent years, there's been an upsurge in the targeting of sharks. The shark meat is predominantly consumed within Peru, but the fins we're told are being exported to the Far East for use as shark fin soup," said Jim Wickens, an investigative journalist with the Ecologist Film Unit. He witnessed the scene along with cameraman Alexander Reynoso who recorded the harpooning of the dolphins.

Wickens, in cooperation with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, collaborated with Mundo Azul to conduct the undercover investigation by placing informants aboard the fishing vessels for a week.

"We were living in very difficult conditions through really quite rough weather and having to eat and sleep for some days actually next to the dismembered carcass of a dolphin. It was horrendous," recounted Wickens.

He said the vessel he was on was one of hundreds that was out to sea off Peru for most of the year targeting sharks. The fishing boat captain said all of the boats carry harpoons and aim to target one to three dolphins per trip. [more]

Dolphins killed for shark bait in Peru

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