[MARMAM] Japanese drive fisheries

lmarino at emory.edu lmarino at emory.edu
Fri Oct 7 17:13:55 PDT 2005

Dear Colleagues,

This Saturday, October 8th, is an international day of protest against
the Japanese dolphin drive fisheries.  As marine mammal scientists, many
of us continue to be concerned about the brutal slaughter of thousands
of dolphins annually in a few remote Japanese fishing villages. These
drives are the largest mass killing of cetaceans in the world.
The annual drives typically begin in October and last through April.
According to the Earth Island Institute during the hunting season that
began October 1st 2003 and ended March 30th 2004 the fishermen of just
one Japanese village, Taiji, killed 1,165 dolphins and whales including
444 striped dolphins, 197 bottlenose dolphins, 102 pantropical spotted
dolphins, 293 risso's dolphins, 117 pilot whales and 12 false killer
whales. Altogether about 1-2,000 animals are killed every year in
Japanese small cetacean drive hunts.

Believed to compete for fish, fisherman herd dolphins into shallow coves
and brutally and inhumanly kill the dolphins by slashing their throats
and other parts of their bodies with knives or stabbing then with spears
and hooks. Observations and video of this practice show animals
thrashing about after being stabbed or slashed open, hoisted alive into
the air by ropes tied around their tails, and dragged, still living
along roadways.

The dolphins are then processed for fertilizer or human and pet food.
Yet, dolphin meat far exceeds contaminant levels set for human
consumption by most governments (Endo et al. 2005). Furthermore, there
are allegations and video footage of non-US and non-European aquariums
and swim-with-the-dolphin programs procuring animals from the dolphin
drives and thus contributing to this practice. Professional
organizations such as the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the
World Association of Zoos and Aquariums have policy statements
condemning this practice and calling for its immediate termination.

Up to now most efforts to end these atrocities have come from animal
rights, animal welfare and animal conservation organizations. With few
exceptions the voice of our community of marine mammal scientists,
veterinarians, and conservationists has been silent. This is an
opportunity to have a voice and encourage the application of what we
have learned through our science to influence policy.


Thank you.

Lori Marino and Diana Reiss

 Endo T, Haraguchi K, Hisamichi Y, Dalebout M. Baker CS (2005)
Total mercury, methyl mercury, and selenium levels in the red meat of
small cetaceans sold for human consumption in Japan.  Environmental
Science & Technology, 39, 5703-5708.

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