Since the early 1970's - 1980's, fishermen in Japan, Denmark's Faroe Islands, and a few other regions have targeted not only fish but the dolphins and other small cetaceans who feed on them. In bloodbaths hard to imagine, fishermen in port towns such as Taiji slaughter tens, even hundreds, of bottlenose dolphins, Risso's dolphins, and false killer whales at a time. They kill them for meat and because they consider them competition for fish; they also sell a select few dolphins to marine parks and aquaria.
The price of a dolphin from these fisheries can sell to aquariums and marine parks for $32,000 USD per dolphin and $150,000 USD per dolphin if they are trained.
The slaughter of these cetaceans have declined significantly since the 1970's, due to public awareness campaigns and new laws making it more difficult worldwide to hunt these animals. Since 2009 Japan has gone from hunting up to 2000 dolphins per year to today where they are hunting around 800 dolphins per year.
So we can make a difference, and we have a duty to make a difference, for the welfare of the Japanese citizens as much as for the welfare of the dolphins, because dolphin meat contains dangerously high levels of mercury, enough to cause mercury poisoning which causes severe brain damage.
So join with me to peacefully voice our concerns in an informed and polite manner to the Japanese and Danish Consulate in Australia in hope of changing this profligate and unhealthy fisheries industry around the world. So that the Consulate may pass on these petitions to the governments of the most intensive fisheries in the world so they may see that alternatives such as whale and dolphin watching tours are far more profitable and kinder than the current industry.
The meat contains extremely high levels of mercury, the most toxic non-radioactive element on Earth. Dolphin meat exceeds contaminant levels set for human consumption by many governments. This is because ocean predators like Dolphins have around one million times the pollutants in their system than that of fish and so eating dolphin meat can cause severe brain damage.
As such we believe that your government has a duty to care for the health and well-being of your citizens, by no longer allowing the drive hunting of small cetaceans such as dolphins, and the selling of dolphin meat in shops.
Furthermore, despite this meat appearing to be a serious risk to the public's health, still many of these citizens are completely unaware that they are even eating this contaminated meat, due to the fisheries industry in Japan being allowed to mislabel dolphin meat as Tuna or Whale.
WAZA, which represents approximately 12,000 zoological facilities around the world, and the Alliance, which represents approximately 45 marine mammal facilities, have specifically urged their members not to acquire dolphins from these hunts, as such acquisition violates the code of ethics or sustainability standards for these associations.
Which brings us to our second point, and that is that this practice is highly unsustainable and unnecessary. The fact that dolphin drive hunts are relatively new in Japan and that the hunt in the Faroe Islands is conducted by wealthy islanders, who have no subsistence need for whale meat, shows that neither countries can truly claim that these hunts are in the name of cultural tradition. The drive fisheries are also unnecessary for economic growth, as whale watching has proven to be far more successful and brings more tourism to each town like Taiji and the Faroe Islands.
The hunting of dolphins and small killer whales took place by many countries around the world, including Australia during the 1970's - 1980's. However after the Australian government learned of the dangers of selling and consuming dolphin meat, and after the public had shown outrage at the hunting of these intelligent creatures, they chose to discontinue their drive fisheries. Since then the whale and dolphin watching industries earn over $100 million dollars each year in Australia and far over $2 billion dollars per year worldwide.
Therefore we are pleading with you to please put a ban on the reckless drive hunting of small whales and dolphins in Japan and Denmark. And instead consider the lucrative alternatives such as whale watching and dolphin tours, which have already proven to be a big success around the world.
This makes economic sense and it ensures the health and safety of your people, while allowing these animals to remain alive and unharmed in the wild for people to appreciate these marine mammals for centuries.