Half of live dol­phins caught in Ja­pan ex­ported

The China Post - - LIFE -

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 hunt method has been crit­i­cized 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 ex- ported 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.

U.N. 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 slaugh- tered 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 ( US$ 8,030) each.

Last month, Ja­pan’s zoos and aquar­i­ums voted to stop us­ing dol­phins caught by the method, as de­manded by the World As- so­ci­a­tion 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.

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