Death in Taiji Bay: Japan hunts dolphins
Dolphin meat is still very popular in Taiji, but demand has increased in the rest of Japan in recent years greatly decreased. Many suppliers and processing companies have now had to close.
Selling a live dolphin is now much more lucrative for its hunter: a dolphin killed for consumption brings around 430 euros, a dolphinarium pays for a live porpoise according to research the “Washington Post” between 6,800 and 10,200 euros.
The Dolphin Project reports that an average of between 100 and 200 dolphins are caught for dolphinariums each year. There are 70 operating dolphinariums in Japan – more than any other country in the world. According to Tim Burns, coordinator of the Dolphin Project in Taiji, Japan is itself the world’s largest market for the live animals caught in Taiji.
Death or dolphinarium
After this the public and the international umbrella organization of zoos and aquariums, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) had put considerable pressure on them, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) forbade its members to purchase dolphins from Taiji Bay in 2015. Some Japanese dolphinariums then withdrew from the association in order to be able to circumvent the ban.
Animal trainers from the dolphinariums, together with the fishermen, select individual dolphins from the animals that were driven into the bay, which are well suited for use in the dolphinarium. “The fishermen head for a herd of eight animals, among which there may be a young female to be trained,” explains Tim Burns. “The other seven animals are slaughtered.”
The Dolphin Project team expects many of the dolphins caught in the 2021/2022 season to land at the state-owned Taiji-cho Whale Museum and Moriura Bay. Messages According to the Japan Times, between 100 and 200 animals are kept in underwater stables in Moriura Bay on behalf of the government – the stocks are regularly replenished by the hunt in Taiji. In the Whale Museum, the souvenir shop has whale and dolphin meat on offer for its visitors: For example, as a snack to consume during one of the dolphin shows.