Quantcast

‘Earth Focus’ Exposes Illegal, Inhumane Dolphin Hunting in Peru

Shark meat consumption is on the rise in Peru, and the price of traditional bait is growing right along with it.

Those facts have led fisherman in places like Lima to target some of the 30 dolphin species found in the Pacific Ocean off the country's coast, which is known as the most bioproductive oceanic stretch in the world with 10 percent of the world's caught fish. However, the fishermen there do their dolphin targeting with harpoons.

Led by London-based reporter Jim Wickens, the Earth Focus segment discusses and shows the prolonged and unregulated deaths the mammals go through before their remains become shark bait. They are struck with harpoons and dragged on a line, leading them to a bloody demise. It's a practice the entire industry and government knows about, but have not proved or cared to prove, scientist Stefan Austermühle, also executive director of Mundo Azul, said.

As many as 10,000 dolphins are killed each year in the area.

Wickens first spoke to a former shark fisherman who only wanted to be identified as José for an eyewitness account of dolphin hunting.

"Suddenly, I was surprised to see that they took out a harpoon and I said, ‘What's this? What's this for,'" José recalled. "And then I saw for the first time that it was for the killing of the dolphin. It really shocked me to see the cruel way they are hunted. Even when they're still alive, you hit them or open them up or bleed them—anything to get the meat and you use it for bait.

"It's brutal. You have to see it to understand how it makes you feel."

All it took was anonymity and gas money for Wickens to get a seat on a boat with fishermen who hunted Pacific Ocean dolphins for a week. Once the crew was on the ocean, Wickens quickly realized that he was the only one present who seemed to have an issue with the cruel practice. The captain said he knew killing dolphins was illegal, while one of the fisherman calmly cuts up a dolphin and talks about how much money the killing saved, as opposed to buying expensive mackerel for bait.

"It's never been caught before on film, and we managed to record it," Wickens said of the hunting. "The killing of intelligent mammals like dolphins is terrible at the best of times.

"The killing of them to be used as fish bait is unthinkable."

The embedded episode of Earth Focus also features clips and information on My Village, My Lobster, a one-hour documentary by filmmakers Brad Allgood and Josh Wolff on a practice that harms the environment as well as the humans who perform it—commercial lobster diving in Nicaragua. It has caused Miskito Indians to suffer the decompression disease epidemic also known as "the bends," but it brings in about $20 million per year, as 90 percent of the lobsters caught are sold to premium U.S. restaurants and supermarkets.

"There used to be so many lobsters that you could walk out into the sea and just fish them out by hand," Wolff said. "Then, the commercialization of lobster diving was introduced, and that sped up the depletion of the lobster stock closer to shore, and it's just moving deeper and deeper and deeper.

"That, in turn, is causing these instances of decompression sickness because these men are diving deeper and they're staying out for longer periods of time."

EARTH FOCUS airs every Thursday at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on Link TV—channel 375 on DIRECTV and channel 9410 on DISH Network. Episodes are also available to watch online at linktv.org/earthfocus.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

‘Earth Focus’ Premiere Exposes Coal Ash’s Toxic Impact on American Families

250+ Bottlenose Dolphins Captured in Japan’s Taiji Cove Hunt

Sea Shepherd Founder to Bill Maher: ‘If Oceans Die, We Die’

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Naveena Sadasivam

It was early in the morning last Thursday, and Jonathan Butler was standing on the Fred Hartman Bridge, helping 11 fellow Greenpeace activists rappel down and suspend themselves over the Houston Ship Channel. The protesters dangled in the air most of the day, shutting down a part of one of the country's largest ports for oil.

Read More Show Less
We already have a realistic solution in the Green New Deal—we just lack the political will. JARED RODRIGUEZ / TRUTHOUT

By C.J. Polychroniou

Climate change is by far the most serious crisis facing the world today. At stake is the future of civilization as we know it. Yet, both public awareness and government action lag way behind what's needed to avert a climate change catastrophe. In the interview below, Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin discuss the challenges ahead and what needs to be done.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
FDA

Food manufacturer General Mills issued a voluntary recall of more than 600,000 pounds, or about 120,000 bags, of Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour this week after a sample tested positive for a bacteria strain known to cause illness.

Read More Show Less
Imelda flooded highway 69 North in Houston Thursday. Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images

Two have died and at least 1,000 had to be rescued as Tropical Storm Imelda brought extreme flooding to the Houston area Thursday, only two years after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Read More Show Less
Aerial assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage in Connecticut. Dannel Malloy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Giant sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park, California. lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.

Read More Show Less
Vera_Petrunina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Wudan Yan

In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."

Read More Show Less