|Mass Slaughter of Dolphins for Shark Bait Documented|
Lima, Peru -- As many as fifteen thousand dolphins are killed yearly for use as shark bait and human consumption by Peruvian fishermen.
An expedition conducted by the marine conservation organizations BlueVoice, based in USA, and Peru-based Mundo Azul has returned with video and photographic evidence of a massive hunt for dolphins carried out by Peruvian fishermen. This expedition follows an earlier expedition conducted by the two groups in collaboration with UK-based Ecostorm.
Both expeditions brought back graphic video and photographic evidence of massive dolphin killing by Peruvian fishermen. Dolphins are harpooned, clubbed to death and then butchered to be used as shark bait. Dolphins are also killed for human consumption.
The president of Mundo Azul, Stefan Austermuhle who boarded a Peruvian fishing boat to gather evidence, reported “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.”
Based on the number of boats in the fishing fleet and testimony of fishermen, Austermuhle estimates up to fifteen thousand dolphins are killed for bait and human consumption in this manner. In addition, an unknown additional number of dolphins are killed in the driftnet fishery off Peru.
“Killing dolphins is illegal in Peru. The laws are difficult to enforce on the high seas, however dolphin meat is sold in markets on shore and could be controlled at that point, if police were willing to do so,” said BlueVoice executive director Hardy Jones
Blue sharks and mako sharks were taken by the Peruvian fishing vessel, whose name must remain confidential. The process involves unbelievable cruelty and it can take as long as an hour for them to die.
“Though it is well known that Peruvian fishermen take hundreds of sharks, until now the world has been unaware of the vast slaughter of dolphins off Peru” said Jones. “Many are keenly aware of the dreadful killing of dolphins at Taiji, Japan and assume that is the largest slaughter of dolphins in the world; far from it. In fact, the killing of dolphins for food, called dolphin bush meat, is a worldwide problem and may be growing as traditional fisheries collapse.”
Jones has spent three decades exposing the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and elsewhere.
“Stefan Austermuhle spent three weeks aboard a sordid little fishing boat putting himself at grave personal risk. And he brought back the evidence we need to bust this tragic process,” said Jones.
BlueVoice and Mundo Azul announced Thursday the initiation of a worldwide campaign to end this barbarity. The first step will be presenting the evidence before international bodies concerned with marine conservation and animal welfare.