In Peru, a new, disturbing practice has been making headlines over the past week or so. This practice actually kills both sharks and dolphins at the same time! You will probably be as shocked as I was when I first heard of this if in fact you have not heard of it already. I warn you it is quite disturbing to read about and the videos are even more disturbing. The unsustainable nature of this practice of course is more than enough to warrant an end to it.
The practice is that a fishing boat goes out and finds a pod of dolphins. The next thing that happens is that one of the dolphins are harpooned and brought onto the ship. The bleeding dolphin is often times enough to lure nearby sharks. While on board, the dolphin has the skin peeled off it's back while the animal is STILL ALIVE. The skin and meat are placed on hooks and used to catch sharks. The shark meat generally stays in Peru, but the real prize as you probably could have guessed by now is the fins of the shark. The fins are shipped off to Asia at a high price where they are made into shark fin soup. It is estimated that 10,000 dolphins are being killed every year in Peru alone by this practice. The number of sharks is unknown, but chances are it is a higher number than 10,000.
Now is this practice legal in Peruvian waters? No. It is not a legal practice, but it is still going on. To try and put further pressure on the fisherman who are doing it, Peru is currently contemplating banning shark fishing in all of it's territorial waters to try and help both the dolphins and sharks. In reality, this is a worst case scenario for the oceans. Not only do you have one apex predator here being killed, you have two! One of which is being killed at an alarming rate of 100,000,000 a year (sharks). There is no positive to this practice at all. The fisherman however are netting roughly $22,000 per trip for their catches. Truly a disgusting amount of money for what they are doing to the oceans. The government of Peru needs to act and act fast to try to further put this illegal practice down for good. If banning shark fishing or the sale of shark products is what needs to be done to save the lives of two apex predators, then so be it. The fact is that this simply cannot go on and it will not be long until Peruvian waters start to see the effects of this practice if it is allowed to endure for long.
I'm going to close out this blog with a video of what goes on during this practice. I warn you it is very graphic and does have a live dolphin being stabbed and a pregnant shark being cut open, so please if you don't think you can handle it... Don't watch.... It is very disturbing.