Protecting the environment with intelligence

Japan’s hunt for the Dall’s porpoise due to begin again

Dall's Porpoise catch in Otsuchi Japan. Copyright EIA.

Dall’s Porpoise catch in Otsuchi Japan (c) EIA

 

Today (November 1) is the official start of the Dall’s porpoise hunt in Japan. This large-scale hand harpoon hunt – for more than a quarter of a century it was the world’s largest direct cetacean hunt – came to an abrupt end after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit north-eastern Japan in March 2011.

With many of the boats gone and the key Dall’s porpoise landing ports of Otsuchi and Kamaishi totally destroyed, many hoped that this signalled the end of the hunt.

However, it was not to be – in mid-March this year, some small scale hunting took place north of Otsuchi and Kamaishi, so we are now eager to see if the hunt will resume after the closed summer season.

Even prior to the tsunami, catch statistics indicated that the hunt was in serious decline. While over 18,000 porpoises were officially killed just two years before I first visited Otsuchi in 1999, catch numbers have decreased year on year ever since. The 2010 catch was just under 5,000 porpoises, the smallest since records began in 1963.

Why was this happening? Well, it could be a combination of a number of factors: reducing prices for porpoise meat, greater awareness of risks to consumers through the consumption of mercury-laden porpoise meat, new regulations in Japan that went some way to preventing porpoise meat being sold as whale, efforts by EIA and other NGOs to persuade large Japanese retail chains to stop selling cetacean products – these have all probably played a role.

But it could be simply that there are fewer porpoises to catch and this is what chiefly concerns me. The conservation status of whales and dolphins hunted in Japan’s coastal waters rarely gets first billing in the public debate about the hunts, but it is a serious issue. A report soon to be published by EIA demonstrates that there is little, if any, evidence to show that any of the coastal hunts are sustainable, and more than a few worrying indications that they aren’t.

Nine species are targeted in the various hunts, including the infamous drive hunt depicted in the film The Cove. Data collated reveals that long-running declines in catches of species such as the striped dolphin and Dall’s porpoise now extend across multiple prefectures, a pattern now being replicated in other species including the short-finned pilot whale and spotted dolphin.

While the levels of catches alone are enough to cause great concern, there are additional unknown but potentially population-level consequences of the hunts. Our report discusses how undocumented deaths and the population-level impacts of stress, social disruption and potential evolutionary consequences of hunts are all likely to pose a long-term threat to these populations’ ability to recover.

Frankly, it seems likely that the Dall’s porpoise hunt will resume today. Hopefully, it will be at a much reduced level and we further hope that our report will bring some impetus to re-examine all the hunts from a conservation perspective.

While the Japanese government maintains its stubborn reluctance to relinquish an archaic and dying industry for which there is declining demand, the very least it can do is establish a scientific management programme that will ensure the restoration and maintenance of these species at their former levels.

Clare Perry
Senior Campaigner

Posted on:

27 Responses

  1. Jamuna Llewellyn says:

    Stop capturing and killing our oceans living beings. They are not yours to harm or kill. They belong to themselves, the ocean and the earth. Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises, Seals, Sharks…Cetaceans! Leave them be to live with their families in peace.

    Thank you, Jamuna Llewellyn (USA)

  2. Mary says:

    Oh so shame! What can we do to stop it!

  3. David says:

    Totall assholes to kill all the dolphins an whales

  4. 1,

    hi.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9564820/Japanese-earthquake-recovery-money-going-to-whaling.html

    it is getting worse and worse.
    Although it was used that the present political party tells people a lie, using a tax like this for a whaling maintenance was surprised.
    This does not change in order that the present political party may change. I told you that Japan do not have an anti-whaling political party before.
    It is not a political party and very large expectation has been promoting whaling.
    We the people do not realize what it is. Probably, many people do not desire whaling. It is because it is unrelated to everyday life.
    whaling is continued.
    why?
    i have no idea….. I do not know what to do. The northeastern whaling port received the serious damage by tsunami.
    If a tax is appropriated this much while people do not know, coastal whaling industry will kill a dolphin and a whale certainly with the newly outstanding equipment.
    This is not tradition any longer.
    Why does Japan store whale meat this much? Will it be the stockpile for war in the future? Now, South Korea also tends to follow the wrongdoing of Japan. The South Korean government asserted Takeshima’s territory and I think that this island is made into a small whaling port. Probably, China is also followed.

    This is a very unnatural act.
    The world should check with the Japanese government whether it is the stockpile of the third World War.
    The United States and eu should add economic sanctions to Japan.
    If China and South Korea resume whaling on a grand scale, whales will disappear from the earth.

    I ask of the world from the bottom of my heart, please put great pressure for Japan to stop whaling.

    thank you.

    Sincerely,

  5. 2,

    I appreciate your activity from the bottom of my heart.
    Whale meat is by no means common for us the Japanese.
    A political party is unrelated, it is deceived as research whaling, and Japan is continuing commercial whaling.

    *Quantity of whaling ,Consumption and supply. Balance does not suit.
    Why is whaling continued and why does Japan persist in whaling this much?
    I have considered long long time. Japan should store aconsiderable quantity of whale meat.

    Finally I found out one conclusion.

    Is these whale meat the stockpiles of emergency, such as war?
    Japan prepares for” the third World War “and is continuing whaling.

    I think ,the big issue in which this threatens the world. Nobody makes reference why?
    If it is preparation for war, isn’t the stockpile inspection by an international organization possible as “use for war of international and a marine organism”?
    If the whole world requires for explanation for what purpose the Japanese government should do an extensive stockpile, Japanese whaling will certainly decline.
    Although I am not knowledgeable about international law, to the war use purpose, it must certainly be sensitive.

    Please spread the doubt to my Japanese government in the world.
    And the Japanese government drives a stockpile into the situation where it must open to the world.
    Then, it will become difficult for Japan to continue whaling beyond this.

    Therefore, I am apprehensive about other countries beginning whaling for a stockpile.

    thank you. love you.
    Sincerely,

  6. toshio yashiro says:

    “Japanese earthquake recovery money going to whaling
    Billions of pounds earmarked for the reconstruction of areas of Japan devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami have been diverted to projects with connection to the recovery work, such as whaling research.”

    1,
    it is getting worse and worse.
    Although it was used that the present political party tells people a lie, using a tax like this for a whaling maintenance was surprised.
    This does not change in order that the present political party may change. I told you that Japan do not have an anti-whaling political party before.
    It is not a political party and very large expectation has been promoting whaling.
    We the people do not realize what it is. Probably, many people do not desire whaling. It is because it is unrelated to everyday life.
    whaling is continued.
    why?
    i have no idea….. I do not know what to do. The northeastern whaling port received the serious damage by tsunami.
    If a tax is appropriated this much while people do not know, coastal whaling industry will kill a dolphin and a whale certainly with the newly outstanding equipment.
    This is not tradition any longer.
    Why does Japan store whale meat this much? Will it be the stockpile for war in the future? Now, South Korea also tends to follow the wrongdoing of Japan. The South Korean government asserted Takeshima’s territory and I think that this island is made into a small whaling port. Probably, China is also followed.

    This is a very unnatural act.
    The world should check with the Japanese government whether it is the stockpile of the third World War.
    The United States and eu should add economic sanctions to Japan.
    If China and South Korea resume whaling on a grand scale, whales will disappear from the earth.

    I ask of the world from the bottom of my heart, please put great pressure for Japan to stop whaling.

    thank you.

    Sincerely,

  7. toshio yashiro says:

    2,

    Whale meat is by no means common for us the Japanese.
    A political party is unrelated, it is deceived as research whaling, and Japan is continuing commercial whaling.

    *Quantity of whaling ,Consumption and supply. Balance does not suit.
    Why is whaling continued and why does Japan persist in whaling this much?
    I have considered long long time. Japan should store aconsiderable quantity of whale meat.

    Finally I found out one conclusion.

    Is these whale meat the stockpiles of emergency, such as war?
    Japan prepares for” the third World War “and is continuing whaling.

    I think ,the big issue in which this threatens the world. Nobody makes reference why?
    If it is preparation for war, isn’t the stockpile inspection by an international organization possible as “use for war of international and a marine organism”?
    If the whole world requires for explanation for what purpose the Japanese government should do an extensive stockpile, Japanese whaling will certainly decline.
    Although I am not knowledgeable about international law, to the war use purpose, it must certainly be sensitive.

    Please spread in the world the doubt which I am holding in the Japanese government.

    And the Japanese government drives a stockpile into the situation where it must open to the world.
    Then, it will become difficult for Japan to continue whaling beyond this.

    Therefore, I am apprehensive about other countries beginning whaling for a stockpile.

    thank you. love you.
    Sincerely,

  8. Michelle connolly says:

    Their is no end to the insatiable appetite of these fishermen.. They have no idea about the future of our oceans & the negative consequences of their actions. They deceive buyers with incorrect labelling, deceive the public about mercury , try to hide the massacre behind tarps. Attack those that observe, block off tsunami exit sites to ensure less mitigation of public pressure.. Need I go on dishonesty and Shame !!

  9. lisa gallazzi says:

    are the japanese on a mission to take everything the ocean has to offer??? this is mammal genocide on a major scale and should be stopped once and for all IMMEDIATELY!

  10. No more hunts of whales and dolphins

  11. “Japan’s hunt for the Dall’s porpoise due to begin again ”

    http://www.eia-international.org/japans-hunt-for-the-dalls-porpoise-due-to-begin-again-today

    Why were they erased although I post two comments?

    Where can two comments of mine be seen in your web?

    • billdishington says:

      Hi Toshio,

      Your comments were bnot erased the were being held awaiting approval

      Best wishes

      EIA

      • Thank you.
        I appreciate.
        I am an individual.
        I am wishing the stop of the fake slaughter act which the Japanese government is continuing from the bottom of my heart.
        I have to send many comments to the world from Tokyo.

      • toshio yahsiro says:

        my new comment were bnot erased ? The two same things were posted by mistake, so please erase one piece.
        If possible, approvald ,please post one piece ( 13 Nov,).

  12. Jacqui says:

    Our Oceans are being depleted. Its not sustainable..the over fishing of all dolphins and whales…from what I see they do not discriminate,,they kill all and everything! whole huge pods of families..in the most inhumane killings and torture . The sadistic behavior these so called fishermen display is criminal. Its a disservice to future generations, negligent and irresponsible !!!!!!

    The stock pile of dolphin is disturbing and yes it begs some answers…Why??

    It is TIME to ban and protect our Oceans and its inhabitants!! Wake Up Leaders!!! When you KNOW better …you DO better!

    • Daveed says:

      i agree strongly. the whales etc deserve a life just like us, it is cruelty to rid them of this opportunity.

  13. George C. says:

    We should not expect any great changes from these fishermen as they clearly lack intelligence, courage to go against change and simply show an overall lack of will power to go beyond their own selfish lives. They don’t even care about exposing their own children to toxic levels of mercury and other toxic compounds scientifically to exist in the fish they slaughter for profit. How stupid is that?. Very few species on the planet treat their young with such disregard.

    If change is to occur it will need to come from negotiations and discussions amongst thoughtful people in the Japanese government or general population with have the motivation to care. I am disgusted with this Japanese country…. sadly and am not holding my breath for any change from them.

  14. toshio yahsiro says:

    Dear,EIA

    I have to stop this slaughter with an intelligence. I should hate a Japanese dolphin and whale slaughter similarly to Chinese fur industry. Asia (including Japan) and Africa are very behind in the idea over the rights of animals.Rules of North America EU and UK (except for shooting the seal of Canada ) must be applied
    I am an individual.
    In order to make this slaughter finish, the help of a big organization is required.

    1) ” The indication of a whale meat stockpile “.

    Please perform the signature activities which ask for the indication of a whale meat stockpile of Japan from all over the world.
    A reason is doubt of the stockpile for war. once again !*Quantity of whaling ,Consumption and supply. Balance does not suit.

    2) This is negotiation with the world and Governor Wakayama.
    *also please perform the signature activities .

    The animal protection law of our country is not adapted for the coastal sea mammals. It is a very sly skillful law.
    IWC is very negative to coastal whaling regulation. The governor of each prefecture publishes permission of coastal dolphins.
    The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries gives permission of coastal whaling.

    “Taiji “is in Wakayama Prefecture. “Kumano “of World Heritage is in Wakayama Prefecture, too. World Heritage is an international sightseeing spot.

    http://www.hongu.jp/en

    http://www.pref.mie.lg.jp/KODO/en/index.htm

    “Kumano” of world heritage exists in Wakayama Prefecture, Mie Prefecture, and Nara Prefecture. The tourist in the world visits world heritage.

    *If the dolphin fishery in Taiji is not stopped, a travel enterprise does not recommend “Kumano “for the tourist from the world as a tourist resort.

    Isn’t such negotiation possible? As long as dolphin slaughter is continued, a tourist boycotts.

    If 3 prefectures do not want to lose a tourist, Mie Prefecture and Nara Prefecture will put pressure on Wakayama Prefecture.

    Tourist attractions are important sources of revenue.

    Therefore, it is anxious for everybody and world heritage registration.
    If they call a dolphin resources, the tourists from the world will also be resources.
    let them choose which resources. the tourists ? or dolphins ?

    Please consider carefully for dolphins. *This is not mere boycott movement. This is negotiation with an intelligence.

    If milestone is made, Japan will certainly stop whaling.

    thank you.

  15. toshio yahsiro says:

    “Faroe Island’s slaughter of dolphins in Denmark.”

    https://getsatisfaction.com/wwf/topics/how_to_report_animal_abuse_to_wwf_i_have_received_email_from_friend_where_there_are_bulk_of_dolphins_been

    p.s.

    *There is information that Japanese whale meat is exported to China.

  16. […] Aber die gesunkenen Fangzahlen können auch schlicht und einfach damit zusammenhängen, dass es weniger Schweinswale gibt … (Quelle: Clare Perry von EIA) […]

  17. toshio yashiro says:

    The coastal whaling in Japan has two kinds of permissions.

    1) In small whaling, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries publishes permission.

    2) As for a dolphin, each governor publishes permission.

    Small whaling and a dolphin fishery are done at several places in Japan. Of course, whale meat predation of a fishing village exists. However, in Tokyo, whale meat fresh to a market hardly exists. Whaling does not have feelings for the Japanese of a general city.

    This is attention. The balance of demand and supply is very mysterious.The government has paid the subsidy to whaling. Many people do not know the amount of money, either.

    I think that fishermen are continuing slaughter for the subsidy of whaling. Of course, the person who makes whaling continue will be made to win in an election.

    A whaling issue is very political.
    Legislation ・ Administration ・ Administration of justice ・Media
    These all protect whaling.

    However, I believe that I can terminate this slaughter that should be hated. My proposal is an extreme argument.
    However, in an ordinary way, the Japanese government will not stop whaling easily.

    Thanks to the Internet infrastructure, it is wonderful that a comment can be sent to the world in this way. However, there is serious evil.

    “It is whale meat sale of the Internet. ”

    Amazon Japan stopped sale immediately by indication of European and American environmental groups. The greatest sale is Yahoo Japan.

    “Softbank ” President ” Son ” (Korean Japanese ) entered into the European and American information industry recently.

    “Yahoo Japan ” is the influence of “Softbank”.

    He should stop sale immediately according to European and American morals.
    Please be spread to everybody !

    Please put big pressure from the West ! I need your help from the bottom of my heart from Tokyo.

    In name of Ποσειδῶν/Poseidōn, I pray that whaling finishes.

    thank you.

    Sincerely,
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Shame on Yahoo! for profiting from the slaughter of whales and dolphins.
    Tell the company to stop selling meat products from these animals. Take action now»
    June 19, 2012
    Dear toshio,

    Internet giant Yahoo! Inc. is profiting from the slaughter of whales and dolphins – and we are outraged. The evidence that hundreds of whale and dolphin meat products are for sale on Yahoo! Japan was confirmed by a new report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency, in conjunction with Humane Society International and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    In the past, Yahoo! Inc. responded to our call and banned the sale of endangered and protected species from its websites. But it has yet to make any significant effort to persuade Yahoo! Japan to follow suit.

    You can help! Tell Yahoo! to do the right thing now: Ban the sale of all whale products on its websites, and stop profiting from the cruel slaughter of whales.

    Most of Japan’s leading supermarket chains and retailers already prohibit the sale of these products in their thousands of stores. We’re sure you find it just as puzzling that Yahoo! would disregard overwhelming public sentiment against such cruelty.

    Enough is enough. Yahoo! websites make a significant impact, both in terms of the volume of goods sold and through influence on consumers and other businesses. A change in its policy on this issue could make a real difference.

    Please take action today and help save whales. Tell Yahoo! to make the humane — and right — move.

    Thank you so much for caring about animals.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew Rowan
    President and CEO
    Humane Society International

    © 2012 Humane Society International| All Rights Reserved.
    Humane Society International | 2100 L Street, NW | Washington, DC 20037 USA
    [email protected] | hsi.org
    ____________________________________________________________

  18. toshio yashiro says:

    http://www.meeresakrobaten.de/2010/11/nutztier-statt-schutztier-bericht/

    Dr.Midori Kagawa-Fox ,Her comment is very interesting. I think that I will send e-mail to her.
    Because, the present governing party was mistaken in the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster processing, also,their policies are China and the South Korean protection too much. and lost people’s trust.
    Why is the political determination of Japan slow? It is because South Korea, China, and Japan , 3 countries exist in Japan.

    anyway,A new national election occurs. A near political party new in the future will turn into the governing party.

    “For “pro-whaling lobby” includes the two ex-presidents Abe Shinzo and Aso Taro and many legislators.”

    A possibility that the Liberal Democratic Party of ” Shinzo Abe “will turn into the governing party is high.”Shinzo Abe ”comes from Yamaguchi- prefecture and Yamaguchi-prefecture is a huge whaling promotion prefecture I would support which political party for a whaling stop, or I would like to ask her.
    ____________________________________________________________
    I sent e-mail to Dr.Midori Kagawa-Fox.
    Also fortunately, she sent a reply immediately.
    However, I was disappointed very much about the contents.

    * Answered by Dr.Midori Kagawa-Fox.

    Q1;For what “party” should its vote be cast for a whaling stop?
    A; I think that a whaling policy is continued even if its vote is cast by which party of Japan.
    Q2;Is there “any anti-whaling politician” in Japan?
    A; I think “NON”.
    Q3;Is there any swift attack means with which “whaling” is made to finish?
    A; I think if based on the national intention. Because people cast their vote and a man of power is chosen.

    It was a too much simple reply. And for the whale, there is no future and I became sad.

    1) Since “triad”” which Dr.Midori Kagawa-Fox presented is firm, the anti-whaling people in Japan break the triangle how, or do not learn a method !
    MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), the Institute of Cetacean Research ICR (Institute of Cetacean Research) and the Fisheries Association JFA (Japan Fisheries Association).

    2) A whaling issue is very political.
    Legislation ・ Administration ・ Administration of justice ・Media
    These all protect whaling.

    Manipulation of information of the media of Japan is carried out skillfully, and they do not tell people about truth.

    *People cannot do the right judgment about whaling issue under this situation.

    NO !!!!!! Dr.Midori Kagawa-Fox! please don’t say so easily so “based on the national intention. Because people cast their vote and a man of power is chosen.”

    The Japanese branch of the world’s largest environmental groups is very negative to a whaling issue. They have escaped from this issue. Who tells truth? Don’t you tell the Japanese?

    The world knows the manipulation of information of the nuclear power plant disaster report. For a long time, the whale issue has been made into a taboo. Its best is done in order that Mr. O`barry and many people in the world may tell the Japanese truth. I am thankful to them from the bottom of my heart.

    ” Japan is the communism which was wearing the democratic mask. ”

    In order to stop whaling, we need the cooperation from the world.
    We need your help to wake up !! World! In order to make whaling finish, we need your wisdom and a method.

    I send e-mail to the organization related to anti whaling, or many people. There, the person of two kinds of types exists.
    Those who want to stop Japan’s whaling truly . And the other, who merely tell the whaling tragedy in Japan.
    This type of person has neither the wisdom of solution, nor a method. Only hopeless and a cruel photograph exist .

    Which type is Dr.Midori Kagawa-Fox? I do not say here.

    thank you.
    Sincerely,

  19. toshio yashiro says:

    November 20, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    please, don’t erase my newest comment !

    thank you !

    Sincerely,

  20. toshio yashiro says:

    toshio yahsiro says:Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:30 am
    (Please allow me to do post here about the following. There is no “Reply”)
    http://www.eia-international.org/alert-update-tell-yahoo-to-stop-selling-whale-dolphin
    Alert update: Tell Yahoo! to stop selling whale & dolphin

    This is awesome !

    “Although Yahoo! has banned the sale of endangered and protected species from all other Yahoo! sites, EIA, HSI and NRDC are deeply concerned that the company has made no significant effort to persuade its Japanese subsidiary to end the sale of whale and dolphin products.”
    (eia)

    “In the past, Yahoo! Inc. responded to our call and banned the sale of endangered and protected species from its websites. But it has yet to make any significant effort to persuade Yahoo! Japan to follow suit. (HSI)

    Wait a minute !

    The power relationship in “the Yahoo! group “is different.
    Yahoo! Japan is not a subsidiary of Yahoo Inc.

    “Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer”

    However, decisive power is not in her.
    The true origin of “Whale meat sale “is” Son “, the Softbank president.

    Please consider corporate structure.

    The largest stockholder of “Yahoo! Japan “is “Softbank.” And ” Son” is the chairman of “Yahoo! Japan. ”

    “The Yahoo! United States head office ” is the largest stockholder of all “the Yahoo!” in the world.

    then,

    The largest stockholder of “the Yahoo! United States head office “is “Softbank”.

    Therefore, she does not have the decisive power over whale meat sale in” Yahoo! Japan.” Son should be determining whether to sell whale meat. I believe that he is a skillful hypocrite. The person in paramount authority of “the Yahoo! group” on this earth is” Son ” rightly.

    The situation of Amazon (Mr. Jeffrey Bezos) and Yahoo! is just going to differ in this. a person in paramount authority want to sell whale meat or not want to.

    “Softbank” purchased “Sprint Nextel “as a matter of fact the other day. He made the base of the U.S. advance from communication business.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/15/us-sprint-fcc-idUSBRE8AE1WQ20121115

    The U.S. media will contact him. (npr radio news already took him up.)

    * so, I need The U.S. media’s help.

    “The U.S. media should question him about the whale meat sale by Yahoo Japan.”

    We should pressure “Softbank “.

    This group composition is a factor which cannot stop sale easily.

    *Thank you EIA ! !!!!!!! HSI and NRDC !!!
    I appreciate from the bottom of my heart.

    Sincerely,

  21. toshio yashiro says:

    I cannot understand why you erased my comment about “Softbank “also twice. Was big donation obtained from “Softbank “? Is it the pressure from “Son”?
    I have given you e-mail, so please tell a reason.

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