Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Campaign Launched to End Slaughter of Dolphins in Peru

An international effort to end the brutal slaughter of dolphins in Peru has been initiated by a coalition of marine conservation organizations headed up by and Peruvian-based Mundo Azul. The campaign is aimed at fishing practices that rely on killing dolphins to use as shark bait.

Video of the slaughter of dolphins and the catch of undersized sharks off the coast of Peru was obtained by the Peruvian NGO Mundo Azul in cooperation with Florida-based BlueVoice. Based on calculations of the number of fishing boats and undercover testimony documenting the numbers of dolphins taken it is estimated that between five and fifteen thousand dolphins are killed yearly.

Stefan Austermuhle, president of Mundo Azul, noted "It is illegal to kill dolphins under Peruvian law but there is no enforcement so fishermen kill dolphins with impunity."

BlueVoice and Mundo Azul have conducted undercover surveys of the sale of dolphin meat and found several locations where illegal sales were taking place. But the number was few relative to years past, perhaps indicating the sale of dolphin meat is being driven underground. There will be continuous surveys of fish markets over the coming months ana network of concerned citizens has been formed to report violations of dolphin protection laws to Mundo Azul's office in Lima.

In addition a bounty of $500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone harming dolphins. "We want the fishermen to know they cannot carry on their dolphin killing and meat sales without exposure", said Hardy Jones, executive director of BlueVoice.

Jones presented to Stefan Austermuhle The Dolphin Defender Award in recognition of his work documenting the killing of dolphins in the shark fishery. Austermuhle spent 24 days aboard a small Peruvian fishing boat to

Footage from his expedition will be cut into a documentary film analogous to The Academy Award winning film The Cove. "It is my hope that our film will have a happy ending in which Peru rededicates itself to the protection of dolphins and its marine resources," said Jones who has produced more than 70 documentaries for television.

BlueVoice and Mundo Azul have called on the Peruvian government to both enforce existing laws and enact legislation banning harpoons on fishing boats. "Harpoons are used solely to kill dolphins and banning them would save the lives of thousands of dolphins," said Austermuhle.


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