The slaughter of dolphins has been illegal in Peru since 1997 but an undercover investigation showed evidence that Peruvian fishermen are killing dolphins to use as shark bait. According to various reports 15,000 dolphins are being killed each year in Peru. Video evidence showed fishermen harpooning, clubbing and even skinning alive adult and infant dolphins. The slaughtered dolphins are then cut up and used as bait or sold for human consumption. Three organizations from Peru, the U.K and the U.S came together to conduct the month long investigation into the fishermen's practices.

Despite the slaughter of dolphins being illegal in Peru, many conservationists say the act is practiced regularly within the country. Investigators from a London-based non-profit news organization called the Ecologist Film Unit was on board one of the shark fishing vessels and filmed fishermen harpooning and skinning a dolphin for shark bait. Jim Wickens, a journalist with the Ecologist Film Unit spoke with the International Business Times about the rising demand for shark meat in the East. "In recent years there has been an upsurge in the targeting of sharks."

"The shark meat is predominantly sold in Peru, but the fins, we're told are being exported to the Far East for use as shark fin soup," Wickens continued. Following the release of the dolphin slaughter footage the Peruvian government said they would consider restricting shark fishing in their waters. At a press conference the Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Paul Phumpiu spoke with reporters saying the government is investigating and will have a complete examination and report of dolphins in Peruvian waters by 2014.

"We will pursue those committing these crimes," Phumpiu told reporters. "We are considering all forms of action, from bans and restrictions to - in extreme cases - the prohibition of [shark] commercialization." Stefan Austermuhle, the executive director of Blue World spoke with the L.A Times about the dolphin slaughter calling it an "open secret" among the shark fishermen. Austermuhle told the L.A Times the shark hunters purchase harpoons that they openly refer to as "dolphin killers." "This happens in front of the entire world and no one does anything," Austermuhle said.

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