St. Augustine, FL, August 16, 2016 (Newswire.com) - Initial proceedings in the trial of three Peruvian fishermen accused of killing dolphins for use as shark bait will commence August 16 in Lurin, a town south of Lima. Stefan Austermuhle, president of the Peru based conservation organization, Mundo Azul, has been ordered by the court to appear as a witness. Aldo Bardales who accompanied Austermuhle on the 24 days voyage of a longliner fishing vessel has been ordered to appear on Wednesday August 17th.
Austermuhle and Bardales obtained video and photographic documentation of the alleged killing of dolphins and the use of their meat to bait hooks to catch sharks. It is illegal to kill dolphins in Peru.
“Thanks to the undercover video obtained by Mundo Azul, the Peruvian state's attorney has brought criminal charges against the fishermen who allegedly killed dolphins in front of our cameras,” said Florida-based BlueVoice executive director Hardy Jones, film producer and long time activist against the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. “This is the first case of prosecution of fishermen for killing dolphins, and is a major breakthrough in efforts to end the slaughter of as many as 15,000 dolphins each year in Peru,” Jones added.
The investigation into the slaughter of dolphins in the Peru longline fishery was funded by marine conservation groups BlueVoice of Florida and OceanCare of Switzerland. “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,” urges Sigi Lueber, President of OceanCare.
Video of the alleged slaughter of dolphins and the catch of undersized sharks off the coast of Peru was obtained in a daring undercover operation by Mundo Azul’s Stefan Austermuhle. Based on calculations of the number of fishing boats and undercover testimony documenting the numbers of dolphins taken, Austermuhle estimates that between ten and fifteen thousand dolphins are killed yearly.
In addition to footage of dolphins being harpooned, the investigation team has come back with shocking footage of shark finning in Peru. Sharks – most of them undersized – are brought to shore 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 Austermuhle.
Footage from the expedition is being edited into a documentary film 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, the film’s executive producer.
A coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including BlueVoice, Mundo Azul, OceanCare and One Voice in France, are collaborating to end the brutal slaughter of dolphins and sharks in Peru.
For further information including photographs and video contact:
In United States: Hardy Jones, BlueVoice.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904 471-4600
In Peru: Stefan Austermuhle, Mundo Azul, email@example.com. 0051994104206
In Europe: Sigrid Lueber, OceanCare, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 44 780 66 88
Abortion of shark fetuses on board fishing vessel (Warning: Graphic Content)
Sale of baby sharks in Peru market