100,000 Dolphins Are Illegally Murdered for Bait Each Year – This Must Be Stopped

Given how universally revered dolphins are, and the fact that humans rarely eat their meat, youíd be forgiven for assuming that dolphins are largely spared by the fishing industry. Alas, thatís not the case. As a new report finds, fishers hunt and butcher over 100,000 cetaceans (a classification that includes dolphins, porpoises and tinier whales) each year, a number thatís been steadily growing in the past couple of decades.

Weíre not talking about dolphins accidentally getting caught up in nets Ė this is a deliberate attempt to capture them so they can be chopped up as bait. When the cetaceans are pulled on to the boat, theyíre generally stabbed with harpoons and knives and then left to die, so the suffering is intense.

Sign the petition: Call on the Peruvian government to put a stop to dolphin hunting.†

In most cases, targeting dolphins and porpoises in this manner is illegal. For some countries itís a matter of regulations being too lax to serve as a deterrent, but usually fishing boats just knowingly break the law because the lack of enforcement and governmental oversight allows them to get away with it.

According to DJ Schubert, a biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute, a black market that peddles porpoise parts has popped up and participants seem unafraid of any consequences.

Thatís absolutely the situation in Peru, the country that by far kills the most dolphins. Up to 15,000 cetaceans die annually off Peruís coastal waters. Pretty much all of these dead dolphins get sold as bait to shark fishing boats, though some goes to market for people to eat, even though their high levels of pollution make them unsafe for humans to consume.

Hunting dolphins has been illegal in Peru since 1996, so itís something that should not be occurring. The government has increased its efforts to deter dolphin killing by pressing charges against lawbreakers and forbidding harpoons from being on fishing boats, but undercover investigations show that plenty of fishers are continuing anyway, finding easy ways to disguise dolphin meat as belonging to other types of sea creatures.

Other countries that illicitly kill cetaceans by the thousands include Taiwan, India, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and Venezuela. Just as is the case with a lot of other marine life captured by the fishing industry, dolphins, porpoises and small whales are being massacred at a rate that is unsustainable for their limited populations. Turning them into bait for sharks, which are also being pulled from the ocean at unsustainable rates, is only exacerbating the problem.

Take Action

While itís great that Peruís government is starting to acknowledge that illicit dolphin killing is a problem on its coasts, given how it is the global leader in this epidemic, it has the responsibility to do a lot more to protect cetaceans.

Thatís why weíre calling on Javier Fernando Miguel Atkins Lerggios, the Vice Minister of Production who is in charge of the countryís fisheries and aquaculture, to take more aggressive steps to protect the dolphins. The laws are already on the books, so now itís a matter of enforcing them.

If undercover investigations by conservation groups can produce evidence of wrongdoing, the government can certainly make similar efforts. Sign this petition demanding Mr. Lerggios to make it his personal mission to scare this black market out of business.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

130 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you.

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Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Lesa D
Past Member 10 months ago

dolphins cruelly tortured to be used as bait... why?

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Lesa D
Past Member 10 months ago

#87639 petition signed...

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Lesa D
Past Member 10 months ago

thank you Kevin...

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Carol C
Carol C11 months ago

Very disturbing. Petition signed.

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Sophie A
Past Member 11 months ago

Signed, of course.

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