Fishermen involved in butchering and selling a dolphin on a Zhuhai street will face prosecution, authorities in China’s southern Guangdong province have said.

Local police summoned three fishermen for investigation last month following the circulation of bloody pictures of a butchered and carved-up baby dolphin on the internet.

Photo: Weibo.

Citing test results from Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University, the Guangdong Administration of Ocean and Fisheries announced on Monday that the dead animal was a Chinese white dolphin.

Chinese white dolphins are a Class I species under national protection – it is illegal to hunt, kill, sell or buy them under the 1988 Law on the Conservation of Wild Animals.

“The sellers shall face criminal responsibility,” said the administration.

Head in a styrofoam box

Photos circulating on Chinese social media channel Weibo last month showed the dolphin’s torso being split open and carved up by workers on a street, with its head in a styrofoam box nearby.

A Chinese white dolphin. File photo: GovHK.

According to screenshots of a conversation between the resident who reported the incident and the Weibo community group manager, the dolphin meat was selling for only RMB 10 (HK$11) for half a kilogram.

See also: Investigation launched after photos emerge of butchered dolphin on street in China

The fishermen claimed the dolphin was already dead when they found it floating in the sea, and thus decided to sell and eat its meat.


Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.