Statement From Taiji Whaling Association

The following is a quote from the Taiji Whaling Association:

'Japanese fishermen working in Taiji’s traditional drive fishery were yet again harassed earlier this month by representatives of an eco-terrorist organization. And yet again these interlopers have substantially misrepresented to the media both the facts about this centuries-old fishery and about their own actions-presumably seeking to enhance their organization’s fund-raising opportunities. Archaeologists have shown that Japan began to utilise dolphins and whales as food at least 9000 years ago. Coastal dwellers first used beached whales and organized small-scale hunting operations for dolphins. Then in 1606 records show Taiji organized larger-scale whaling operations thus making Taiji the birthplace of Japan’s traditional whaling industry. Taiji has a proud history of 400 years of whaling. From Taiji traditional whaling operations spread and adapted throughout Japan. In modern times the community-based whalers in Taiji have taken several species of small whales dolphins and porpoises. The dolphin drive fishery is a fishery that the Government of Japan manages sustainably pursuant both to applicable international and domestic law. In 1946 whaling nations signed the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling establishing the International Whaling Commission (IWC) “to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.” The IWC manages the 13 species of large whales. On the other hand management of small cetaceans dolphins among them remains the responsibility of the coastal state in whose waters these are found. The Government of Japan sets a sustainable quota for each species based on scientific abundance estimates. During the drive fisheries season government-appointed inspectors are in Taiji to oversee the fisheries and take samples for scientific analyses from every animal caught. For Japan the fisheries for whales and small cetaceans have for thousands of years been important food sources. However after the IWC imposed a moratorium on the taking of all large whales endangered or not Japan’s community-based whalers have only been able to take the small cetaceans for which Japan has management responsibility. Thus the community of Taiji is alert when interlopers whose agendas are based neither on international law nor on science but rather on emotion for economic self-interest continue willfully to distort the facts about this fishery. The dolphin fishery represents an important part of the tradition through which generations of Taiji fishermen have supplied their community with food. They will continue to do so.'

From Oceanic Defense:
Here are a few things to consider regarding the statement above.

メチル水銀 = Methyl Mercury.
水俣を思いだせ - Remember Mitamata

  1. Nowhere did the Association mention the DANGERS of eating whale or dolphin meat which is proven to have upwards of 500 times more mercury than permitted by Japanese health ministries.

  2. With respect to tradition it was not mentioned that the eating of whale and dolphin meat laced with methyl mercury and PCB's. That would lead us to believe that tradition involves poisoning their own families - 子供達を殺すな! (do not kill your children)

  3. Demand for whale and dolphin meat has continually decreased as people become more aware of the dangers of consumption.
  4. we are NOT ECO-TERRORISTS - we are concerned citizens. Brothers and sisters to the Japanese people, the same people that have a right to know what you have kept secret for far too many years. These brothers and sisters also have the right to know what they are feeding their families.

(knowledge is power)


  1. I think it is important for these people to understand that what happened 400 years ago CANNOT continue on the planet today. As I see it, this community is using whaling and dolphin slaughter to justify their LACK of knowing HOW to do anything else. NOW is the time to EDUCATE their children to DO something ELSE in order to earn a living. Learning a better WAY is a responsibility they OWE their children for the future!

  2. Just because something is tradition does not make it ok. Today is a different world where the oceans are dying and the animals in it are toxic.

  3. Slavery and Binding their women's feet was a tradition, too. Are they wanting to go back to that?

  4. maybe just maybe 400 years ago the people of these small villages had to hunt to survive , i am sure this was the case in all countries all over the world,i daresay there are still small tribes in the depths of the jungles who still do ! however fisherfolk of taiji you now have access to shops where these days it is possible to buy foodstuffs,however if you have a predeliction for fish then there are many sustainable species in the sea ! you do not have to continue the dolphin and whale slaughter,im sorry to say and this is just a personal observation i believe you are suffering from blood lust andenjoy the killing,you certainly look happy in your photo,you bring dishonour upon yourselves,your country men and your kin

  5. SO! If a species is on the endangered list is their traditions more important. Times have changed. I don't know if they are aware there are a few more people on the planet since they started their tradition. The Myans used to rip peoples hatrs out of their bodies while they were still alive many centuries ago. There are a lot of customs people don't practice any more! Wake up and smell the daisies!
    'Times they are a changing'-Dylan

  6. If I may be the devil's advocate..

    >eco-terrorist organization
    This is obviously a strong word, but from the fisherman's perspective, when an organization comes in for an act of espionage to basically attempt to flip their entire lifestyles upside down, isn't it natural to have some antipathy? (which ends up in resorting to blasting hyperboles from both sides that freeze the debate)

    >what you have kept secret for far too many years.
    kept secret because the sensationalist (usually foreign) press is a pain in the ass to deal with? I'm sure it wasn't "kept secret" 100 years ago.

    maybe researching about their tradition may be useful in understanding their point of view? Maybe this thing called tradition is far more important than people realize?

    this was due to toxic effluent water that infected shellfish and fish (the main cause of the poisonings in humans). There haven't been any other instance of mercury poisoning in the world. To get the levels of mercury contained in dolphins, how often do you have to eat it? Once every three weeks? I don't think anyone eats it that often. Of course it's an important issue (and someone has to publicize it more; good for O'Barry and others), but the effects are usually overblown.

    Anyways, I hate it when differences of culture breeds cultural schisms on a common topic when it's actually an opportunity to understand each other. IMO, the proper compromise would be for the fishermen to still harvest the dolphins sustainably (as they are currently doing so), but with more information openness. Dolphin data isn't released in Japan and the dolphins themselves are in a weird position under the IWC jurisdiction -- both matters will have to change. I think the mercury matter is overexposed in the U.S., but underexposed in Japan, and the Japanese press needs to man up and let the people know.

  7. The arguments of the proponents of the continued mistreatment or slaughter of whales and dolphins are akin to saying that because humans are not endangered, and because we have been killing each other for millennia, we should respect cultures who continue the practice of genocide. How cold. How sad. How misinformed. Please read my blog at http://whaleanddolphintalk.blogspot.com/