Target: Gladys Triveño, Ministry of Production, Peru
Goal: Stop using protected dolphins to lure endangered sharks
Fishermen in Peru are killing thousands of protected dolphins per year, only to use their carcasses as bait for endangered blue sharks. This illegal way for fishermen to cut their costs is unsustainable to already dwindling populations, and little is being done by the Peruvian government to stop it.
Many shark boats in the country will go on bait expeditions, where they harpoon dolphins that feed on the abundant shoals of anchovies near Peruvian coasts. Hunting the dolphins, or ‘sea-pigs,’ though illegal, is considered a low-risk way to save money on otherwise expensive bait. The dolphins are left to flail in the water after being harpooned as the blood and distressed movement attracts predators to the area.
Sharks are attracted to the dolphin flesh by its high fat content and tendency to retain blood. The meat is set onto a long line with hundreds of hooks, and left overnight. Sharks, who need to stay swimming in order to breathe, can sometimes drown on the hook before being pulled to the surface. Once on the boat, the sharks’ snouts are cut off and their spinal cords are prodded until they die.
Endangered blue sharks, thrasher sharks considered vulnerable to extinction, and even pregnant sharks are caught and sold for their meat. Environmental experts estimate the number of dolphins caught to be 10,000-15,000, making it the largest dolphin slaughter in the modern world, while the amount of sharks caught to be triple that.
This practice poses a double threat to the Peruvian ecosystem and to many struggling species in the world. The slaughter of these animals in such high numbers will only drive them further down the precarious road to extinction. Your signature will demand that the Peruvian government enforce protection laws by keeping a closer eye on the industry as well as by following through with punitive measures.
Dear Gladys Triveño, Ministry of Production, Peru,
Recent evidence has surfaced of an illegal dolphin hunt in Peruvian waters. Fishermen will harpoon protected dolphins in order to use their fatty flesh as bait for endangered and nearly extinct sharks. This practice is detrimental to numerous species of sea creatures, especially in such large numbers.
Experts suspect that 10,000-15,000 dolphins are caught annually near Peru, making this the largest dolphin hunt in the modern world. The amount of blue and thrasher sharks caught with the dolphin flesh is estimated to be triple or quadruple that of the dolphins.
I demand that more effort be put into enforcing the ban on dolphin hunting, and that hunting the nearly extinct thrasher shark be banned as well. It is Peru’s responsibility to the world to make every effort to preserve its struggling native species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: LaPrimaDonna via Creative Commons