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Archive for Sunday, June 8, 2003

Dolphin meat still available in Peru

June 8, 2003

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— In a squalid fish market near Peru's largest seaport, blood drips from the morning's fresh catch of "chancho marino," or sea pork. It's actually dolphin of the Flipper variety, a protected mammal under Peruvian law.

In practice, dolphin remains widely available under the counter from Peruvian fishmongers. At 40 cents a pound, it's popular for the poor. Horse meat, by comparison, costs 70 cents a pound; beef, $1.85.

By conservative estimates, 3,000 dolphins a year are trapped in Peruvian fishermen's nets, harpooned as they feed in shallow water or trapped, hauled to the beach and clubbed to death for human consumption.

Only three countries hunt dolphins for human consumption, according to Randall Reeves, chairman of a specialist group for dolphins for the World Conservation Union. In Peru and Sri Lanka the meat is sold to the poor, while in Japan it is a delicacy.

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