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Dolphin massacre: 15,000 killed each year in Peru

By Tim Sandle     Jan 3, 2014 in Environment
According to a report from an environmental organization, some 15,000 dolphins are killed every year by fishermen in Peru. The dolphins are used for bait to catch endangered sharks.
In Peru dolphin hunting is officially illegal and the crime is theoretically punishable with several years in prison. However, it appears that authorities are turning a blind eye, according to the Ecologist Film Unit. In footage, review by CNN, fisherman were shown to haul dolphins out of the sea and to cut them up to be used as bait.
In terms of the motivation for the actions, sharks are a profitable commodity to fishermen. National Geographic notes that sharks are captured and various pieces from the shark are sold into the Asian market.
In a separate report by the magazine The Ecologist, a Peruvian fish boat captain is alleged to have said:
"Dolphin meat is effective for the blue shark. When you cut it it bleeds a lot. And the blue shark likes fat, and the dolphin is pure fat. I understand that to hunt the dolphin is illegal. But for me, it's a necessity, I do it to keep my bills down..I can minimize my costs, because the bait for shark is very expensive. The majority of boats that fish shark carry the speargun with the spear ready to use."
The issue has been picked up by the campaign organization Avaaz. The body is planning to place adverts in tourism magazines in countries where most of the tourists to Peru come from. In addition, Avaaz has launched an online petition, with the aim of passing on one million signatures to the Peruvian governmnet.
According to Avaaz:
"Our oceans are under attack. Sharks and dolphins already face threats from pollution, climate change and entanglement in fishing gear. They play an important role as ocean predators and need to be protected -- not butchered. Many marine ecosystems are on the verge of collapse from which they won't recover and they will not wait while our politicians dither around making empty statements.
Tourism is Peru’s third largest industry, growing faster than any other South American country. Visitors are coming to see our pristine wilderness and eco-tourism is very important. We can create a serious threat by taking out hard-hitting ads in key countries where most visitors are coming from. Our government will realise people not only love our country because of the Machu Picchu and local gastronomy but also because they love our oceans and wildlife."
The petition can be found here.
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