Dolphins harpooned and butchered for use as bait to catch sharks, thousands of sharks stripped of their fins and thrown back into the sea to drown and vulnerable turtles killed and discarded.
This is a catalogue of cruel, wasteful and illegal practices aboard fishing vessels linked to Taiwan.
EJF investigation - exposing unseen cruelty at sea
EJF spoke to Indonesian crew members from five longline vessels fishing in waters around the world, from the Pacific to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans – all either flying a Taiwanese flag or linked to Taiwanese ownership.
On all five boats the crew reported being ordered to remove shark fins and throw the bodies overboard – a practice that is banned by Taiwan. The sharks – unable to swim without their fins – suffocate or bleed to death.
Some of the vessels also illegally caught and killed dolphins, which are protected under Taiwanese law. Crew aboard one vessel were ordered to harpoon dolphins riding the bow wave: once harpooned, the animals were dragged alongside until they were exhausted or dead; those still showing signs of life were crudely electrocuted using a car battery. The dolphins were then butchered, and the meat used as shark bait.
Around 300 dolphins were killed in this way on each of the vessel’s three-month trips, according to the crew.
It is easy to catch [dolphins]. We could kill maybe six to nine per day. But if we had ten dolphins already on deck and there were still more at the bow, we would hunt them until they were all caught
Indonesian crew member, interviewed by EJF
Taiwan must protect dolphins and sharks.
The handful of vessels we investigated caught tens of thousands of sharks – illegally discarding the bodies to make space for more.
Multiply that by Taiwan’s large fishing fleet and the scale of exploitation of the marine ecosystem is vast. Action needs to be taken to stop the slaughter. EJF will continue to investigate Taiwan's fishing industry.
Donate now to join the fight to protect sharks and dolphins.
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