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Posted on Apr 17, 2013 in Top Shots
Killing Porpoises for Shark Bait: Atrocity Upon Atrocity
by Doug Olander

If you think you’re upset at the idea of commercial fishermen slicing off the fins of living sharks and then dumping their helpless bodies overboard to sink to the bottom, what you’re about to read here will really piss you off.

The report I read this morning on allafrica.com has certainly maxed out my sense of outrage, after I learned how one atrocity has spawned another.

It seems that now, in the waters of Tanzania, men are hunting dolphins, even though they’re supposedly protected in Tanzania. (We’re talking about cetaceans — porpoises — and not the game fish). Some of the dolphin meat is showing up in fish markets in Dar es Salaam.

Though I can’t embrace the idea of killing Flipper for his meat, I do recognize that there are a lot of very hungry people trying to survive in a place like Dar es Salaam.

No, where it gets truly outrageous is the point at which Jason Rubens, World Wildlife Fund for Nature advisor, is cited as saying that dolphin are being actively targeted by dynamite fishermen in Dar es Salaam because their flesh makes very good bait for sharks, which are being hunted for the Asian shark-fin market.

There is no shortage of reminders of the depths to which some men will sink, but something like this is particularly disturbing for those of us who care about the oceans and marine life.

Despite the country’s laws protecting dolphins and the recent international protections from finning given to five species of large sharks, there’s precious little enforcement of any kind in countries like Tanzania.

I keep envisioning a formal business dinner in Hong Kong with diners happily slurping their shark-fin soup, and I wonder how many sharks were wasted and how many dolphins were killed and cut into chunks to put the fins in those bowls.