Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 10: No dolphins murdered today - at least not in the cove

Fortunately I don't have much to post about today, which means it was a good day in Taiji! The boats went out this morning and despite the sun and calm seas, they came back empty handed. No dolphins were murdered in the cove today - dolphin lovers rejoice! Let us not forget though that this isn't the only place in the world where dolphin slaughter occurs.

Three days ago was the official start of the Dall's porpoise hunt here in Japan. Here is a bit about it, taken from the Environmental Investigation Agency's website:

Today (November 1) is the official opening of Japan’s annual Dall’s porpoise hunt, the largest direct hunt of any whale, dolphin and porpoise in the world.

The port of Otsuchi, in northern Japan, is the focal point of the hand harpoon hunt which has claimed up to 15,000 Dall’s porpoises in previous years.

It is still unclear whether the hunt – described by International Whaling Commission (IWC) scientists as “clearly unsustainable” – will go ahead this year due to the aftermath of the devastation wreaked in the region by March’s tsunami.

Dolphin hunts at Taiji are ongoing, continuing to supply Japanese consumers with cetacean meat full of dangerous pollutants, including mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Once landed, Japan’s catch of porpoises and dolphins is processed and sold in supermarkets and fish markets throughout the country, sometimes illegally mislabeled as ‘whale meat’ to increase its value.

The Environmental Investigation Agency has traveled to Otsuchi, in the prefecture of Iwate, many times in recent years to monitor and raise awareness of the hunt in a bid to ensure its grossly detrimental impact on marine conservation and consumer health does not continue to be overlooked.

“In the past 20 years, more than 300,000 Dall’s porpoises have been hunted just to produce toxic meat for human consumption,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry.

“Most Japanese people know nothing of the Dall’s hunt and yet they continue to be misled about it, both in regard to the true nature of the resulting products and to the very serious health risks of eating such contaminated meat.

“The only impediment to this year’s hunt taking place appears to be the physical damage to the industry caused by the tsunami; there’s certainly nothing to indicate any significant change in official Japanese attitudes – and nothing at all to stop them embarking on this dreadful hunt once conditions again make it possible.”


And of course, Japan is by no means the only country that senselessly kills dolphins and other whales. And for what, to slowly poison friends and family with their toxic meat? To eliminate the fishing competition so that you can eat the oceans empty all by yourselves? The pride of not listening to others?

What will you do when the dolphins are gone?! Eliminate the next biggest thing I'm sure, tuna perhaps. And when all the tuna are gone, the focus will switch to the next largest species and so on and so forth. Then our oceans will be dead and the world will no longer be worth living in. Fortunately we won't have to endure that for too long, because when the oceans go so will we. About 85% of our oxygen comes from microscopic phytoplankton floating around in healthy productive seas. No ocean, no oxygen, no life. None of this is conjecture by the way, this is all cold hard science.

When will the world wake up and realize all of this? Why can't we all see the value in a rich, thriving, abundant ocean that will benefit us for generations to come, rather than the one time minuet value of a dead dolphin? With as many dolphins as the fishermen manage to find each year, could you imagine if they instead started up a wild dolphin watching business? Dolphins are worth so much more alive than dead, there's just no arguing with that.

So here's hoping that in the not so distant future we can educate others about the importance of a healthy world ocean and save it while we still have the chance. Here's hoping we can all shift our opinions to see the value of life over the value of death. Here's hoping we can see dolphins for what they really are: highly intelligent and social beings that have just as much right to live on this planet as we do.

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