The dolphin catch quota was amended for the first time in 14 years

The graph we received from the Fishery Agency shows the new quota. Over the past 2 years,the Fishery Agency has given the following answers to IKAN:

The quota shall be amended because many years have passed since the dolphin catch quota was set up and new data has been collected.

The Fishery Agency has set up the new quota based on new scientific data from the reference of PBR (potential biological removal) established by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It would mean that the new quota is not be as supportive for the industry as the previous one was. For those species where their actual catch numbers did not reach their quotas or not was caught at all will be removed.

However, there will be new species added to the the quota, but the Fishery Agency said that specialized dolphin research will be necessary becausethe area used for the past research(sighting survey), the sea, is not appropriate for coas tal species. For example, Bryde's Whales were heavily researched in that area.

Last year the sighting survey of dolphins was finally done twice. The fishery Agency says that this research is the first step because dolphin population research should last several years.

Unfortunately, they added new species to the catch and they made little change of the catch quota even for species which we were concerned about. Also it seems that they tried to settle this matter by decreasing the catch quota, instead of removing it altogether, of the species which they have no actual catch of.

We can see good examples of new catch quotas for Taiji and Futo. For Futo the catch quota for the Pantropical Spotted dolphin and Striped dolphin, which they have no actual catch, remain. Also, catch quotas for the Pacific white sided dolphin and false killer whale, which was illegally caught in 1996, were added. This result could spoil new local industries, such as dolphin watching.

In Taiji they had weak sales of dolphin meat because of consumer's concern about chemical pollution and from competition with whale meat supplied from scientific research whaling. As a result, they used the surplus meat for school lunches and are trying to sell some to China.

In spite of this situation, the total catch increased for Taiji. If the catch quota was based on the new data collected through new research, it would be acceptable. However, the new quota was made based on the past research result.

This is neither understandable nor acceptable.

Also, all of the people who submitted public comments mentioned that Pacific White-sided dolphin should not be the target species for catch. The estimated number of them shown in 2005 is not reliable and we do not understand why they set up the catch quota.

Coincidentally, this year is the year of the dolphin established by the U.N. This was established for protecting dolphins internationally as their survival is becoming increasingly difficult because of bycatch, ship strikes, sea contamination and, of course, fisheries.