Illegal dolphin killing for human consumption in Peru

Illegal dolphin killing in Peru  for human consumption is a wide spread problem along the Peruvian coast. We are estimating that up to 3000 dolphins are killed each year. Dolphin meat is not landed publicly on fishing piers. Instead fishermen are hunting off-shore dolphins out of site from people on the beach. They are then hiding the meat under fish or in sacks and are throwing the carcasses over board before entering the port. Members of Mundo Azul do find the bodies and remains of slaughtered off-shore dolphins on beaches along the entire coastline.

In order to reduce illegal dolphin killing in Peru Mundo Azuls volunteers are engaged in undercover investigation of illegal sales of dolphin meat. We are monitoring local markets and identifying meat vendors. We are then providing the collected intelligence to the Peruvian police and are actively supporting the implementation of police raids.

We are also supporting the Peruvian police thru capacity building. Raising public awareness and environmental education are further elements of our work to stop illegal dolphin killing in Peru. We are engaged in dolphin research providing us with important baseline information for conservation planning. Finally we are promoting whale and dolphin watching as a sustainable economic alternative to illegal dolphin killing in Peru.

We believe that the capture of illegal dealers and fishermen who are engaged in illegal dolphin killing in Peru is an important part of any conservation campaign that wants to achieve certain success. Each time we are able to capture one of these people, we are actively reducing the Peruvian dolphin killings and we are sending out a strong signal of law enforcement to everybody who might still be engaged in illegal dolphin killing in Peru.

Our work of catching the people who take part in illegal dolphin killing in Peru involves great personal risks for our investigators. The identity of local sources of information has to be protected and often they have to be paid in order to get the information we need. The observation of local black markets is costly and time consuming. In order to continue helping the Peruvian police and Coast Guard to capture illegal fishermen and meat dealers, we need your financial support. If you want to help us with your donation, please contact us.

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What you can do to stop illegal dolphin killing in Peru

  1. Stay informed and connect to our various social network profiles, RSS-feeds and/or the newsletter
  2. Spread the word: share this web-page with your social network friends (see our add-it function) or send out the link by email.
  3. Go whale watching and dolphin watching in Peru with Nature Expeditions: This way you are directly supporting Mundo Azuls research and conservation work and you are showing the Peruvian public that tourism can be an economic alternative to dolphin killing.

Below you can see some cases where Mundo Azul’s investigation could lead to the capture of meat vendors being involved in illegal dolphin killing in Peru:

Illegal dolphin killing in Salaverry port:

On 06. April 2003, Mundo Azul investigators discovered the inner organs of a small cetacean on the beach aside the fishing dock of Salaverry. Later, the illegal dealer of the cetaceans’ meat was identified in the local market. Illegal sale of dolphin meat in Salaverry port is dominated by the Huamachuma family.

In 2003 we captured the first family member, being apparently the mother of the local fishermen Mr. Huamachumu, with 5 Kg of dolphin meat. When returning to Salaverry Maria Teresa Huamachumu Asmat, 38 years, was captured on fourth of December 2003 with 38 kilograms of dolphin meat. Her relative Elvira Maria Huamachuma Asmat was caught on 28th of June 2006 selling 42.5 kilos of dolphin meat on her sales post just aside of Maria Teresa Huamachuma, which to that date did not have dolphin meat on her desk.

The case of the Huamachuma family is a good example for an entire family being dedicated to illegal dolphin killing in Peru, and being well aware of what they are doing. Their strategy is simple and effective: When ever one family member gets caught, another one starts selling afterwards, this way avoiding repeated capture which would lead to jail sentence.

In Salaverry it also has been possible – based on the information of a local informant – to obtain knowledge of a fishing boat that was in the process of bringing in dead dolphins, in order to sell them to local meat dealers. Together with Coast Guard and local police officials, it was possible to board the boat after it arrived at the port at night and search it. The body of a Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) was found. This shows that the dolphin killers of Salaverry are very well organized, communicating with each other, planning the illegal business and developing strategies to avoid punishment.

Illegal dolphin killing in Chimbote

Based on an investigation realized by Mundo Azul, local officials of the Police Department for Ecological Crimes and Inspectors of the Vice Ministry of Fisheries were able to catch two illegal dolphin meat dealers in the market “El Progresso” in Chimbote. A total of 37 kilograms of dolphin meat was seized.

Illegal dolphin killing in Caceta

On Friday, May 23. 2003 members of Mundo Azul and police officers of the Department for Ecological Crimes were able to capture, in the act, an illegal dealer of dolphin meat at the market “Caceta” in Lima. The man had been identified by undercover investigators for Mundo Azul and was observed for more than three weeks openly selling dolphin meat in the market. Finally, a team of Mundo Azul members and policemen were able to catch the dealer in the act while selling dolphin meat in the market. A total of 27 kilograms of cetacean meat were seized and afterwards handed over to a public kitchen for poor people. The man later admitted to be very well informed that selling cetacean meat was an ecological crime. He said that he obtained the meat from the fishing terminal of “Ventanillas”, Lima, where it was sold under the table to known clients. He also admitted to regular sales of cetacean meat as there was no control and he did not expect to get caught. No more dolphin sales were found in the market of Caceta in the following years.

Illegal dolphin killing in Callao

On Wednesday, 03 June 2003, private investigators for Mundo Azul and police officers from the Department for Ecological Crimes managed to capture two men trying to illegally sell cetacean meat and Peruvian boobies for human consumption at a market in the harbor city of Callao, neighboring Peru’s capital of Lima.

After being under surveillance for several days by private investigators for Mundo Azul, Rafael Zapata Sanginez, age 48, was caught with 35 kilograms of dolphin meat and Nicanor Espinoza Albino, age 56, was caught offering 8 kilograms of dolphin meat and five slaughtered Peruvian boobies for sale.

Nicanor Espinoza Albino


 Nicanor Espinoza Albino was sentenced with a fine of 1000 Nuevos Soles (aproximately 310 $US) and two years of prison in case of repeating the crime.  He was then filmed by Mundo Azul members with hidden cameras several times in 2006 selling dolphin meat again. This information was provided to the Ecological Police. He then was captured by the police on 30 of November 2006 in Callao for the second time with 10 kilograms of dolphin meat. He probably will spend some time in jail now.

Rafael Zapata Sanjinez


 Rafael Zapata Sanjinez was caught for the second time in July 2007 with more than 30 kilograms of dolphin meat and 12 guanay cormorants for sale.

 Julio Hernandez  27 06 2007 Callao

 Julio Hernandez was caught on 27th of June 2006 in Callao port while selling 34 kilograms of dolphin meat.

Martin Alejandro Salazar Miranda

Martin Alejandro Salazar Miranda, was captured on 30th of November 2006 in the port of Callao selling 14 kilograms of dolphin meat.

If you have any questions, comments or want to support us, please contact us.


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Related links: 

Whale and dolphin species of Peru

Go whale watching in Peru

Go dolphin watching in Peru

Whale watching as an alternative to dolphin killing

Be a dolphin conservation volunteer

Stop dolphin slaughter in Peru

Mundo Azuls whale and dolphin research

First aid for stranded dolphins

Stop whaling


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Book the following trips with Mundo Azuls commercial partner Nature Expeditions in Peru in order to support our conservation work

coastal marine birding               coastal wetland birding                                                     Urban birding in Lima


Protected bird site                                           Coastal desert oasis

Pantanos de Villa                                               Lomas de Lachay                                              Birding in the Andes





Please also support the following conservation campaigns

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