Evidence against them obtained in secret
Three Peruvian fishermen were tried in court on August 16th for killing
dolphins and using their bodies as bait to catch sharks. This is the
first time that this illegal but common practice has been brought to
Their illegal act was secretly filmed for 24 days on a longline fishing
boat by Stefan Austermühle, the German-born founder of the Peru-based
conservation group Mundo Azul. He and his companion Aldo Bardales would
be summoned to testify in court.
Thanks to the footage, the Peruvian public prosecutor was able to bring
charges against the fishermen.
Describing the trial as a major
breakthrough, Sigrid Lüber, President of the Swiss marine conservation
organisation Ocean Care, said, “To illegally use dolphin meat as cheap
bait and then to use it to attract and decimate sharks is a double
environmental crime which needs to stop.”
Based on the number of shark fishing vessels and a number of undercover
testimonies, Austermühle estimates that as many as 15,000 dolphins
perish every year.
Austermühle’s footage showed dolphins being harpooned, then cut into
pieces and used for shark bait. The team also captured scenes of shark
finning in Peru, where sharks – many not yet of reproductive age – are
brought ashore and finned.
“We shot heart-wrenching footage of baby
sharks being marketed for ceviche. Peru is well on its way to wiping
out the shark populations along its coast. The government is doing
nothing to stop it. But we believe our efforts can change that,” said
The acquired footage will be part of a documentary targeted for international television broadcast. “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 Hardy Jones,
managing director of US organisation Blue Voice and the film's producer.
The organisations – Mundo Azul in Peru, OceanCare
in Switzerland, Blue Voice in USA and One Voice in France – have
formed an alliance to end the brutal slaughter of dolphins and sharks
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