Driven By Demand - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
18Cooperation unveiledThe following case studies illustrate howaquarium industry demands provide an importantincentive for the continuation of Japan's drivehunts.Futo, 1996In October 1996, over 200 bottlenose dolphins andapproximately 50 false killer whales were driveninto Futo's harbour. Ten Japanese aquaria fromShizuoka and other nearby prefectures werereported to be involved in the capture, althoughonly six selected dolphins for display at theirpremises. Twenty-six bottlenose dolphins and sixfalse killer whales were taken into captivity and,following selection, 69 bottlenose dolphins and fivefalse killer whales were reported killed, althoughthe actual mortality rate is likely to be much higheras a result of stress and injury to the animals. 86These removals violated the official quota of 75bottlenose dolphins and zero false killer whales forthat drive hunt season. The hunt promptedprotests at the removals by Japanese citizen groupsand individuals and international animal protectionorganizations. 87 Using video footage provided byJapanese group Iruka and Kujira (Dolphin andWhale) Action Network (IKAN), the illegality of thehunt was revealed and the national FisheriesAgency ordered the local fishing cooperative torelease the remaining dolphins and false killerwhales held in the harbour. 88 Ten days after thehunt, the six false killer whales that had been takeninto captivity were also released. 89 The survivalrate of the released whales is unknown, followingthe stressful hunt, round-up, selection andconfinement process. Furthermore, two monthsafter this hunt, further quota violations werereported, including information that 22 false killerwhales had been caught and sold for 6.6 millionyen (almost US $60,000). 90 Reports suggest thisfigure also includes several other false killer whaleskilled and sold for meat. 91Taiji, 1997In 1991, Japan's Fisheries Agency issued anotification to prohibit orca (killer whale) capturesin Japanese coastal waters, with an exemption forscientific research. In 1992, a permit to capture upto five orcas was given for this purpose. InFebruary 1997, there were reports that ten orcaswere driven into Hatajiri Bay, Taiji. Five were soldto three Japanese aquaria, including the Taiji WhaleMuseum and Izu Mito Sea Paradise. Five werereleased, their survival status unknown. 92 TwentyJapanese organizations objected to the orcacapture in addition to over 100 internationalenvironmental and animal protectionorganizations. 93 By June 1997, two of the orcastaken into captivity had already died. Only two arealive today. It was only after the drive hunt hadtaken place in 1997 that the Fisheries Agencyconfirmed that the 1992 quota was still current,although no review of the five-year-old permit orits potential impact on the population targeted hadbeen conducted. 94 The public outcry surroundingthe capture was followed by an announcement bythe Fisheries Agency and the Japanese Associationof Zoos and Aquariums that captures would onlybe made for “academic purposes” and not for“entertainment shows”. 95 The annual quota (fiveorcas for scientific research) was also reviewed anda decision made to ban future orca captures unlessfurther permit requests were made. 96Futo, 1999In October 1999, nearly 100 bottlenose dolphinswere driven into Futo Harbour. 97 Reports allegethat representatives from two Japanese aquaria(Aburatsubo Marine Park and Izu Mito Sea Paradise)selected six dolphins for their facilities. 98 Followingselection by the aquaria, fishermen slaughtered 69other dolphins, processing their meat at a nearbyslaughterhouse. During this process, the dolphinswere pulled by hooks, lassoed by their flukes withropes, hauled from the water while they were, inmost cases, still alive and transported to theprocessing stations. 99 The remaining dolphins wereseriously harmed as they were violently forcedoutside the nets. 100 Footage of this hunt was shownon CNN news in the USA and was later describedin a UK government report to the InternationalWhaling Commission. Following internationaldissemination of the hunt footage, drive hunt fishingcooperatives were directed to alter their killingmethods 101 and conceal their hunts. 102Photo: Michelle Grady/WDCS. Amphitheatre and concrete pools,Taiji Whale Museum.
19Cooperation unveiledTaiji, 2004In January 2004, it was reported that over 100bottlenose dolphins were driven into shore inTaiji. According to official records, 23 dolphinswere sold alive, four were killed, and 70 werereleased. 104 The hunt appears to have takenplace primarily to provide dolphins for display incaptivity. Japanese aquaria reportedly involved inthe hunt included the Taiji Whale Museum andDolphin Base. 105 In what appeared to be totaldisregard for the welfare of the dolphins held forseveral days, trainers and other aquariarepresentatives were seen wading into thechurning waters where dolphins struggled tofree themselves. Several dolphins becameentangled and subsequently suffocated in thenets alongside trainers who did not intervene toassist them. 106Photo: Michelle Grady/ WDCS. The ageing dolphin pools at the Taiji Whale Museum.Photo: Michelle Grady/WDCS: World Dolphin Resort, Taiji. This basic facility contains two large concrete tanks with glass sides, for the public towatch the dolphins swimming.