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Help Us Save Japan’s Dolphins!
Around 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and other whales are cruelly slaughtered in Japanese waters every year. Now, we have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to stop the appalling suffering inflicted upon these beautiful, intelligent creatures. A new Japanese Government has been swept to power and with it comes a chance to stop the slaughter once and for all.
Campaign Whale is the only UK member organisation of the ‘Save Japan Dolphins’ coalition which is fighting to end the slaughter of dolphins and porpoises in Japan. Within our ranks is Ric O’Barry, former trainer of ‘Flipper’ the dolphin (a hugely popular 1960s TV series and later Hollywood film) who is determined to expose the shocking link between these appalling hunts and the captive dolphin industry worldwide.
Campaign Whale and the ‘Save Japan Dolphins’ coalition are key partners behind an award-winning film ‘The Cove’ that has received rave reviews at film festivals around the world and is due to be released in the UK on October 23rd. This feature length docu-drama focuses on Taiji, a Japanese coastal town where over 2,000 dolphins are speared to death every year for their meat. While each dead dolphin sells for about US $600, those few captured alive are worth as much as US $200,000 when sold to aquariums and ‘swim with dolphins‘ parks around the world.
‘The Cove’ also highlights the serious health threat posed to the people that eat dolphin and porpoise meat as it is dangerously contaminated with toxic pollutants, such as mercury, at levels that exceed public health safety limits. The shocking reality is that the people eating dolphin meat don’t know they are slowly poisoning themselves as well as their children, because dolphin meat is even included in school lunches! SPECIES IN PERIL: CETACEANS CAMPAIGN
If you thought the whale had been saved - think again. Cetaceans - whales, dolphins and porpoises - need greater protection than ever, not only from the hunters, but also from the destruction of their environment.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) originally agreed the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982 on the basis of uncertainty about whale numbers and their ability to withstand any further depletion through hunting. Tens of thousands of great whales were killed every year before the implementation of the moratorium, driving many populations to the brink of extinction. The moratorium has proved to be one of the most successful conservation measures of the 20th Century allowing great whales a much-needed respite from the decimation of the past.
Many great whale populations are beginning to recover but they face an uncertain future. Substantial new scientific evidence has emerged demonstrating the severe degradation of our marine ecosystems. The survival of whales, dolphins and porpoises is now threatened by the combined onslaught of pollution, over-fishing, accidental catches and ship strikes, global climate change, ozone depletion and a host of other human-induced problems in addition to continued threats from hunting.
The IWC recognises that cetaceans face numerous direct and indirect threats as a result of human activities and directed its Scientific Committee to prioritise research on the impact of environmental changes in 1993. Commercial whaling serves no pressing human need – neither economic nor nutritional nor cultural – and methods used to kill whales are unacceptably inhumane. Yet Japan, Norway and Iceland and others are aggressively advocating the resumption of full-scale commercial whale hunting and international trade in whale products. Presently all three carry out commercial whaling through loopholes in the IWC Convention – Iceland and Norway because they have officially objected to the Moratorium and Japan under the guise of killing whales for science despite this ‘science’ being widely condemned.
Against this background, the IWC is trying to find solutions to the impasse between those that wish to kill whales and those that wish protect them. After years of discussion the IWC failed to agree a scheme that would manage commercial whaling if ever IWC rules allowed it to resume. The IWC is now engaged in discussing its future role, including whether some coastal commercial whaling by Japan should be allowed and what its priorities should be.
EIA is actively engaged in the Future of the IWC process and advocates a constructive vision for the evolution and future of the IWC as a cetacean protection organisation.
• Opposing any resumption of commercial whaling or lifting of the moratorium;
• Seeking an immediate suspension of current commercial whaling operations by Japan, Norway and Iceland;
• Advocating the development and progression of the IWC into an effective conservation regime that is able to meet the daunting challenges facing all cetaceans in the 21st century;
• Supporting the carefully managed development of cetacean watching so that communities are able to make commercial use of cetaceans without harming them.
Around 70 species of dolphin, porpoise and toothed whale (known as small cetaceans) remain unprotected by international law. EIA has long been at the forefront of the fight to gain greater protection for small cetaceans around the world.
In Japan, the cessation of large whale hunting was used as an excuse to massively increase the hunt for unprotected cetaceans in their coastal waters. In 1988, shortly after the moratorium, the Japanese hand-harpoon catch of Dall’s porpoise shot up to over 40,000, wiping out an estimated 67% of the entire Japanese population in just three years. Today around 16,000 Dall’s porpoises are killed in Japanese waters each year, making it the world’s largest cetacean hunt for more than a quarter of a century. Several thousand other dolphins and ‘small whales’ are killed in unsustainable coastal hunts around Japan.
EIA’s small cetacean campaign seeks to:
• document and publicise these hunts;
• reduce demand for cetacean products within Japan;
• increase domestic and international pressure on the Government of Japan to better protect small cetaceans in its coastal waters;
• develop and strengthen the IWC’s role in the conservation and management of small cetaceans.
For over 25 years, the battle to save the whales, dolphins and porpoises has symbolised the dawning of a more environmentally conscious age with the determination to fight against those intent on destroying our natural world for short-term profit. EIA’s aim is to ensure the safety and survival of all the world’s remaining whales, dolphins and porpoises.
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Caruaru, Pernambuco, Brazil