Very disturbing news comes to us from the Japanese whaling town of Taiji in Wakayama prefecture. Dolphin meat, which is fed to Japanese school kids several times per month, had 10-16 times more mercury than is deemed acceptable in Japan. These mercury levels rival those found in the tragic Minamata Bay incident which sickened and killed thousands of Japanese people.
This news comes at the start of the town’s controversial annual slaughter of over 2,000 of these dolphins. You may be acquainted with this issue since Oceana has been campaigning for awhile now to stop Japan’s brutal slaughter of over 20,000 dolphins per year. Please help us in this effort.
As if this news is not upsetting enough, it appears the town plans to build a dolphin processing plant, so they can sell this toxic meat even more widely. What’s more, this shouldn’t be news! Extremely high mercury levels in whale and dolphin meat and organs sold in Japan were reported several years ago. These top predators biaccumulate such high mercury levels from the fish they consume. Despite this, it appears that these whale products have continued to be promoted as healthy food in Japan. Does any of this sound familiar?
Two very brave Taiji council members, who had the dolphin meat tested, claim the news media is reluctant to spread this news of mercury contamination because of how it may affect the fishing industry. Let’s hope that concern for the welfare of Japan’s children and adults, if not for the dolphins themselves, wins out over fishing industry profits!