The Japanese tsunami appears to have temporarily halted the annual Dall’s porpoise hunt. Pity the Taiji dolphins haven’t been spared too, says the Environmental Investigation Agency’s Clare Perry
SAYS ANYONE WITH A HEART AND AN OUNCE OF COMPASSION AND DECENCY!
The start of November marked the official opening of Japan’s annual hunt of the Dall’s porpoise, the largest direct hunt of any whale, dolphin and porpoise in the world. If this were a normal year, the seas off the port of Otsuchi, in the prefecture of Iwate in north-eastern Japan, would be stained red for the six-month duration of the hand harpoon hunt.
In the past, the Dall’s hunt has resulted in the annual butchery of up to 15,000 porpoises, although that figure has been slowly declining and in 2009, the last year for which numbers are available, it was about half that. International Whaling Commission (IWC) scientists have previously described the Dall’s hunt as ‘clearly unsustainable’.
Information from our contacts in the region, and my own instincts, suggest it could take several years for the area to be rebuilt and so allow the hunt to begin again.
There’s no question that the tsunami was a human and environmental tragedy, but it’s a particular shame that it took such an horrendous blow to halt the Dall’s hunt. If anything positive could have come from the destruction, it was that Japan had been given the perfect opportunity to walk away from this wholesale butchery of cetaceans, and the near-universal international condemnation of its whaling activities, without losing face.
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