Over 100,000 dolphins, small whales and porpoises (small cetaceans) are slaughtered globally in hunts each year – many to be used as fishing bait in shark, tuna and other fisheries.
That’s according to a new report, Small Cetaceans, Big Problems, by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Pro Wildlife and Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).
Sandra Altherr, biologist for the Germany-based charity Pro Wildlife, says that most people think of Japan and the Faroe Islands when talking about dolphin hunts but, numerically, the Faroe Islands are not in the top 10 of small cetacean-killing nations and Japan is only ranked 10th. That is because countries such as Peru, Nigeria and Madagascar kill small cetaceans not only for food but also for bait.
Peruvian fishermen currently kill up to 15,000 dolphins a year for shark bait, according to the report’s findings. Other countries where direct takes of more than 1,000 individuals annually occur are Brazil, Canada, Greenland, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Taiwan. Up to several hundred small cetaceans are hunted each year in the U.S. (Alaska), Cameroon, Colombia, Faroe Islands, Guinea Bissau, Kiribati, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Vietnam and Tanzania.