The integrity of science and setting conservation quotas has again been rudely corrupted by the Japan Fisheries Agency, which, according to Cetabase , has raised quotas for Taiji dolphin killers for the second time this season.
On December 1st, the Fisheries Agency raised quotas for two species, newly placed on the quota list for Taiji during the summer, which had been slaughtered up to the existing quotas.
On December 27th, the Japan Fisheries Agency moved to increase the quota for melon-headed whales again, increasing the Taiji hunters’ quota by 100 animals, for a total allowable kill of 300 of the species for this season.
While the drive hunt winds down and usually ends at the end of February, Taiji hunters who then switch to fishing are still allowed to harpoon pilot whales at sea for several months. Will the hunters be allowed to harpoon melon-headed whales as well?
The whole Taiji quota system is a farce. The hunters seldom reach near the total catch limit (2,147 total dolphins set for the current season). So far, the Taiji hunters have only slaughtered 266 dolphins (2 have died) and kept for captivity only 64 as of January 12th.
These numbers represent the lowest rate of catch yet for Taiji since the International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute began our Save Japan Dolphins Campaign in 2004. Likely bad weather has interfered with the hunts to a greater degree than usual, but the low catches may also indicate that at least some of the dolphin species being hunted are depleted and disappearing from the Japanese coast.
Photo by Oceanic Preservation Society