Half of live dolphins caught in Japan exported despite hunt outcry: report

June 7, 2015
Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams takes part in a march in London in January 2015, against the annual slaughter of dolphin
Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams takes part in a march in London in January 2015, against the annual slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese town of Taiji

About half of live dolphins caught in the Japanese coastal town of Taiji were exported to China and other countries despite global criticism of the hunting technique used, a news report has said.

The so-called "drive " method has been criticised overseas as cruel and Japanese zoos and aquariums were recently forced to vow not to buy animals caught with the controversial fishing.

A total of 760 live dolphins were sold between September 2009 and August 2014 in Japan, Kyodo News said Saturday, quoting data from Japan's Fisheries Research Agency and other statistics.

They show that 354 were exported to 12 countries, including 216 to China, 36 to Ukraine, 35 to South Korea and 15 to Russia. One dolphin was exported to the United States.

Eleven dolphins were also exported to Thailand, followed by 10 each to Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, seven to Georgia, five to Tunisia and four each to Egypt and the Philippines, Kyodo said.

UN data showed the export of live dolphins from Japan between 2009 and 2013 was almost entirely to zoos or aquariums, Kyodo added.

All live dolphins are only supplied from Taiji which came to worldwide attention after the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary "The Cove" showed pods forced into a bay and slaughtered with knives, in a mass killing that turned the water red with blood.

Some are captured alive and sold to aquariums, fetching about 1 million yen ($8,030) each.

Last month, Japan's zoos and aquariums voted to stop using dolphins caught by the method, as demanded by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

The vote was prompted by WAZA's suspension of the Japanese chapter (JAZA) in April over the issue.

WAZA regards drive hunt fishing—where pods of cetaceans are herded into a bay by a wall of sound—as "cruel", a charge local fishermen reject.

Many of the dolphins are butchered for food, but campaigners claim there is insufficient demand for their relatively unpopular meat to make the hunt economically worthwhile.

They charge that the high prices live animals fetch when sold to aquariums and dolphin shows is the only thing that sustains the hunt.

Explore further: Japanese zoos, aquariums vote over dolphin hunt

Related Stories

Japanese zoos, aquariums vote over dolphin hunt

May 20, 2015

Japan's zoos and aquariums were expected to decide Wednesday whether to remain part of a global body that suspended them over their use of dolphins caught by the controversial drive hunt method.

Japanese fishermen capture dolphins ahead of slaughter

January 18, 2014

Fishermen and divers caught at least 25 dolphins in a controversial Japanese fishing village Saturday, according to environmentalists, who said the process was captive selection ahead of a mass slaughter.

Dolphin hunting season kicks off in Japan

September 1, 2014

The controversial six-month dolphin hunting season began on Monday in the infamous town of Taiji, but bad weather would delay any killing, a local official told AFP.

Recommended for you

Galactic center visualization delivers star power

March 21, 2019

Want to take a trip to the center of the Milky Way? Check out a new immersive, ultra-high-definition visualization. This 360-movie offers an unparalleled opportunity to look around the center of the galaxy, from the vantage ...

Ultra-sharp images make old stars look absolutely marvelous

March 21, 2019

Using high-resolution adaptive optics imaging from the Gemini Observatory, astronomers have uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. The remarkably sharp image looks back into the early history of ...

When more women make decisions, the environment wins

March 21, 2019

When more women are involved in group decisions about land management, the group conserves more—particularly when offered financial incentives to do so, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study published ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.