Poor nations turn to dolphin meat

August 15, 2011 • Farming Practices, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Ben Zuckerman for this article.  See http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/05/poor_nations_turn_to_dolphin_m.html

Poor nations turn to dolphin meat

May 17, 2011

Martin Robards and Randy Reeves have spent years gathering all the data they could get their hands on about the hunting of marine mammals, from dolphins to dugongs. Their resulting map, presented at the Society for Conservation Biology’s International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria on 15 May, comes with some surprises. “It was a lot more common than we expected, and Randy has been looking at this for decades,” says Robards, who is a program director for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Alaska. Reeves is with Okapi Wildlife Associates in Hudson Quebec.

Unsurprisingly, Japan takes top place, thanks to its whale and dolphin hunts. And Arctic seal hunting means that marine mammal takes in the north are also high. “What you can do there to control the hunt is being done. But in other places it’s falling through the cracks,” says Robards.

In most places, there is a taboo against eating marine mammals because of their ‘cute’ factor, charisma and intelligence. But a decline in global fish stocks (in particular from the developing world to feed Europe) has driven many poor nation populations to eating bushmeat, including primates, and the ‘bushmeat of the sea’, including dolphins (which has a dark, gamey meat like venison). At the same time, fishermen in these nations have switched from using hemp-rope fishnets to nets made of modern fibres, often thanks to international aid efforts to help people get more food. While dolphins typically tear through rope nets, the modern nets are “efficient dolphin killing machines” says Robards. Accidental dolphin bycatch has created a market for their meat, either to eat or to use as shark bait.

For the rest of the article, please click here: http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/05/poor_nations_turn_to_dolphin_m.html

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