Sea Shepherd Calls for Action by Brazilian Authorities to Punish Dolphin Killers

Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil has been established in Brazil for over a decade and in that time we have not encountered a situation like this, so it came as a shock to hear the reports that 83 dolphins were viciously slain by fishermen the coast of Brazil.

The crew of Brazilian fishermen were captured on video killing 83 dolphins [see video below] and joking about their illegal haul. The video showed the fishermen netting the dolphins, who suffocated because they could not surface to breathe. The images of captured marine tucuxi dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) was broadcast by GloboTV and became available to the press through the Brazilian Federal Governmental Agency - IBAMA. [IBAMA is the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment's enforcement agency.]

The researcher from Brazil's IBAMA agency was sent undercover aboard the fishing boat to monitor hauls of other fish. The dolphin kill was filmed while the boat was off the coast of Amapa state, near the point where the Amazon River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

As the dolphins were hauled from the sea and piled on the boat's deck, fishermen on board laughed after someone said, "Everyone's going to jail after this filming!"

However, no one has been charged or fined because authorities were still trying to identify the fishermen caught on video.

IBAMA confirmed the Globo report that aired Monday night, but said Tuesday that no one was immediately available to provide additional details. It was not clear whether the researcher or a crew member filmed the dolphins being killed.

Fishermen who illegally snag dolphins usually sell the meat to other boats that use it to haul up sharks.

"Brazil has the laws to protect dolphins and these laws must be shown to have strength. The only way to do that is to ensure strict punishment for the fishermen responsible for the deaths of these magnificent animals," said Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil Director Captain Paul Watson (also the founder and president of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society).

The deliberate killing of dolphins is a crime punishable by a maximum 18 months in prison in Brazil.

The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat has worked directly with IBAMA specifically with anti-poaching patrols around Fernando Do Noronha Island Marine Reserve.

"We have worked with IBAMA," said Sea Shepherd Captain Alex Cornelissen. "We trust them, and we expect that they will pursue this as effectively as they can if they are not compromised by special interests from the powerful fishing sector of Brazil, which of course, is always a possibility."

Captain Watson has contacted the Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil office in Floriopolis to monitor the investigation and file reports on the progress of investigators.

Dolphin jaws complete with all the teeth are sold in an open air market in the large Amazon city of Belem, and the eyes are also sold as fetishes to men who believe they have magical powers attract riches and women. Dolphin penises are ground into a powder thought to make men more virile.

Sea Shepherd this month signed an agreement with AmazoNorte in Ecuador to help protect the pink Amazon dolphins. These endangered dolphins are also routinely and illegally killed by fishermen.

Fishermen who illegally kill the river dolphins try to wound them so they can be tied to trees while still alive. Then they come and kill them for the bait as and when they need it, cutting of pieces of the dolphins while they still live.

Letters of protest can be sent to:

Counsellor Demétrio Bueno Carvalho
Head of the Tourist Office
Tom Falcão
General Manager
020 7629 6909 José Maria Alkmim
Head of Information
020 7629 6909

Sample Letter:

I am writing to express my concern and my anger concerning the recent slaughter of 83 dolphins by Brazilian fishermen - an atrocity witnessed and filmed by the IBAMA environmental protection agency in Brazil. You have documented proof of this crime, and therefore, I am urging the Brazilian government to indict these fishermen for the crimes for which evidence has been obtained.

I trust that Brazil will demonstrate its responsibility and commitment to marine conservation efforts by pursuing justice under the law.



Watch the video:

Brazil fishermen kill 83 dolphins (narrated in Spanish)
July 18, 2007 - duration 2:20
(Source: GloboTV; Video Courtesy DailyMotion)