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January 6, 2014

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Peru Fishermen Butchering Dolphins for Shark Bait Sparks Global Outrage

dolphin shark bait
Fisherman skins dolphin and cuts it up for shark bait.
Photo by BlueVoice.

October 2013

Dolphins can’t catch a break.

They have been dying by the hundreds in the Gulf of Mexico from exposure to residual oil and dispersants from the 2010 oil spill. They are frequently by-catch in massive trawler nets scooping up everything in their path, while discarding all but tuna. Last year more than 800 dead dolphins washed up along remote South American beaches as victims of underwater seismic activity by oil drilling rigs. Dolphins have also been casualties of military sonar activities by the world’s various naval forces, including the US and Russia.

Such events have resulted in the accidental death of dolphins, but undercover marine conservationists have recently exposed the deliberate, ruthless slaughter of young and adult dolphins, some while still alive, in Peruvian waters by fisherman who simply don’t want to pay the price for shark bait.

The monthlong investigations were conducted by members of, Mundo Azul and separately by Eco Storm, who were on board unidentified fishing vessels and took secret videos of the dolphin and shark brutality.

Dan Collyns of The Guardian Environment reported on the story Wednesday, which was reposted in Mongabay’s newsletter.

Stefan Austermuhle, president of Mundo Azul and leader of one expedition was quoted as saying, "We videotaped from the boat and in the water and what we saw was unimaginably horrific. I just went numb looking at the pitiful dolphin being battered with a club. 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."

The shocking video being disturbed by BlueVoice is called “Holocaust for dolphins and sharks in Peru.”

The Asian Tribune reported that Peruvian officials consider the exposure of such wanton barbarism to be a national embarrassment, as more media publicity is shining a light on the events that have been occurring unabated for years in waters off Peruvian shores.

Under pressure from worldwide marine conservation groups, the government of Peru is considering how it can take action to stop the massive slaughter exposed by Mundo Azul, BlueVoice and Eco storm.

dolphin shark bait

"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," said Hardy Jones, executive director of BlueVoice, as quoted in the Asian Tribune.

Furthermore, other countries have quickly expressed their condemnation of the ruthless slaughter, including the USA, Britain, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Italy and Mexico so far, according to Jones.

"Peru could become the next Japan [as the world’s dolphin-slaughtering villain] as knowledge spreads of the incredibly cruel and wasteful practice of killing dolphins to be used as shark bait," said Jones. He has worked in Japan since 1979 to end the killing of dolphins there. Japan's dolphin-killing culture was highlighted in the 2009 Academy Award winning documentary "The Cove".

In addition, Austermuhle has also met with various pertinent officials on the subject and believes the government is willing create an action plan, but enforcing it will be the challenge.

Charlette Sosa pointed out in the Panama Post that sharks aren’t illegal to kill. Shark fins are considered an Asian delicacy that can cost up to $800 per pound, but they are butchered with the same cruelty as dolphins by having their snouts cut off and their bodies thrown writhing into a chair-sized container.

dolphin shark bait
Ready for "processing"...

One BlueVoice participant was appalled to see a fisherman heartlessly cut open the belly of a shark to have dozens of babies come streaming out onto the deck. They were thrown back overboard only at the behest of the undercover man, when they otherwise would have died in the boat.

According to information gleaned from the dolphin-killing investigations, approximately 15,000 dolphins are illegally massacred every year by Peruvian long-line shark-fishing fleets and the practice was described as “common place.”

In addition to shark bait, fishermen also sell dolphin meat for human consumption, which is illegal.

Critics say the shameful murder of intelligent, innocent beings need to stop and the Peruvian government should act immediately to stem the flow of dolphin blood in its waters. Nor do sharks deserve to suffer such blatant cruelty.

The Azul video can be seen here.

The Eco Storm video can be seen here. Both videos have warnings of graphic material.


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