Statement on Taiji Dolphin Hunt

January 24th, 2014
Dolphin & Whale (Iruka & Kujira) Action Network

   On January 17th, 250 bottle-nosed dolphins were driven into a bay in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. The news came out from a foreign watch group stationed in Taiji, and it spread throughout the world. The critical tweet on the hunt by the American Ambassador in Japan, Mrs. Caroline Kennedy, also drew media and public attention, building up a huge international outcry to stop the hunt. At the same time, we see a different reaction within Japan: there is a noticeable tendency for self-defense and people taking nationalistic stance. It seems that the real issue has been muddied as it was switched to an issue of cultural conflict.

   Our group has been working within Japan to protect dolphins and whales, and we would like to point out some problems we now face in order to bring change into this situation.


Regarding the death of the last orca of the Taiji 5 captured in 1997

Even if we expected this to occur, it is still a great sadness that the female orca "Coo" died, on the 19th of September. Orcas live on the average to be 60 years in the wild – she was estimated to be only 18-19 years old – she did die young, indeed.


In 1997 February, a pod (family) composed of 10 orcas was driven into Hatajiri Bay in Taiji. 5 of them were separated and captured with the permission of the Japanese Fisheries Agency.


Open letter about the new dolphin catch quota

August 31, 2007

Mr.Toshiro Shirasu - Director general, Fisheries Agency
Mr.Hideki Moronuki - Whaling Section, Fisheries Agency

Questions about the new dolphin catch quota

Dolphin hunting will start under the new catch quota on September 1.We have several questions about the new dolphin catch quota that we would like you to answer.


Dolphin hunting Quota (2008-2009)

We appreciate the Agency decreased the quota for dolphins, however, we are still strongly concerned about the following:

  • The estimated individual number lacks accuracy because not enough research has been conducted.
  • Fishing methods should be more carefully considered, especially drive-hunting, which can eliminate entire groups of individuals and involve the use of hand held harpoons and sticks for catching large cetaceans.
  • The Agency needs to correctly understand the actual situation of local fishing industries, for at present, it does not. For example, a small cetacean hunting operations are not operated in Aomori and a small cetacean hunting is going to be finished in Shizuoka. Also their stated number of ships which are permitted to hunt is incorrect.


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,