Taiji Wants to Kill More Dolphins
Just when you thought the dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Japan couldn’t get any worse – they just did. The town, made notorious thanks to the documentary The Cove, has applied for quotas to kill even more dolphins during its annual slaughter season, which begins on September 1, 2017 and goes until March of 2018.
According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the Japanese Fisheries Agency has approved a quota increase request filed by fishermen in Taiji and Okinawa prefectures to include two new species: rough-toothed dolphins and melon-headed whales. These quotas mean that, beginning next hunting season, 46 rough-toothed dolphins can be captured and sold to the captivity industry and 704 melon-headed whales can be slaughtered. This is added to Taiji’s existing quota, which includes bottlenose, pacific white-sided, striped, pantropical spotted, and Risso’s dolphins, plus short finned pilot whales and false killer whales, totaling1820 souls.
Of course, both of these quotas assume that there are healthy populations to “take” from and, as Whale and Dolphin Conservation reports, the Japanese Fisheries Agency believes that filling these quotas for the next 100 years will not have any negative impact on population sizes. The dolphin killers in Taiji have not been able to fill their generous existing quotas, leading to questions such as whether this is because of a decrease in population thanks to their killing, and also just how other populations will stand up to this abuse.
In only considering population size, the Agency is totally erasing the experience of the individuals themselves, as they are corralled, harassed, separated from friends and family, sold into captivity and slaughtered by the thousands. Each individual death matters – it is not the “sustainability” of the populations that should be the deciding factor.
Demand for dolphin meat has been steadily declining in recent years, but more troubling is the dramatic increase in individuals captured for captivity. New facilities, such as a new aquarium in Mississippi, USA, in Dubai and in China – as well as the numerous facilities throughout Japan – indicate that the market is still strong for dolphins stolen from the seas. Despite some very real wins of late – with France and Vancouver banning captivity within the last month alone – much remains to be done.