Protest at porpoise kill at Japanese Embassy in Berlin
Today protestors from Campaign Whale "ate"
poisonous whale meat outside the Japanese
Embassy at Hiroshimastrasse 6 in Berlin. The protest marks the
slaughter of over 300,000 porpoises in Japan’s coastal waters
since commercial whaling was banned in 1986. This year another
porpoises will be harpooned and killed. Scientific analysis has
that whale and dolphin meat is heavily polluted and poses a
health hazard. The protestors will unfurl a banner in Japanese and
German saying ’pollution harms whales and people who eat them";
and another saying ‘Japan - take Dall’s porpoise off
The protest coincides with the annual meeting of the International
Whaling Commission (IWC) at the Estrel Hotel in Berlin. The
hope to raise the issue of Japan’s increasing kill of smaller
whale and dolphin species - which are not protected by the IWC ban
commercial whaling - and stop the cruel Dall’s porpoise hunt.
Dall’s porpoises are speared with hand-thrown harpoons attached
to floats as they bow-ride the hunting boats. Often a harpooned
porpoise will then be gaffed, hauled aboard and left to die of
and blood-loss. Sometimes electric harpoons are used which prolong
animal’s suffering. The animals can take 10-15 minutes to die.
“Dolphins and porpoises in Japan are paying a terrible price for
the international ban on the hunting of larger whales,” said
Campaign Whale Director Andy Ottaway “The commercial whaling ban
must be extended to smaller whale species, like the Dall’s
porpoise, before they too are hunted to extinction.”
Japanese fishermen kill an average of over 20,000 smaller whales
dolphins each year. However, it is the Dall's porpoise, perhaps
it is so easy to catch, that has been the main target for this
hunt. Large scale hunting of Dall's porpoises has taken place in
for around 50 years. In the 1960's and 70's the average kill was
between 5-10,000 animals. However when Japan stopped coastal minke
whaling in 1988, the Dall's catch rocketed to over 40,000 animals.
Despite repeated concerns of IWC scientists, and an IWC Resolution
2001, the Japanese Government has refused to stop the hunt or
data to allow the Dall’s porpoise population to be assessed by
the IWC’s Scientific Committee.
“The Dall's porpoise is being slaughtered at a rate similar to
that which pushed so many whale species to the brink of extinction.&#
8221; said Ottaway, “The Japanese Government must
close the hunt and ban the sale of dolphin and porpoise meat to
the Dall's porpoise and other species from sharing a similar fate”
Press photo-call at 11am, Japanese Embassy, Hiroshimasrasse 6.
For further info please contact Andy Ottaway of Campaign Whale or
Sascha Regmann of Project BlueSea on mobile 07855 666069
Notes to Editors:
· Around 300,000 Dall's porpoises have been slaughtered during
ban on commercial whaling. An average of a porpoise harpooned
every 2 5
minutes - 50 porpoises each day for the past 17 years of the
· Smaller species of whales and dolphins receive no protection
the IWC ban on commercial whaling yet many populations are being
to the brink of extinction.
· Other species hunted in Japanese waters are bottlenose whales,
striped and Risso's dolphins, pilot whales and Baird’s beaked
· Campaign Whale is pressing for the Dall’s hunt to be raised
with the Japanese delegation at the IWC meeting in Berlin 9th-14th
Reproduced below are IWC reported catch statistics for Japan's
*N.B increase as Japan suspends coastal minke whaling
1985 10,378 1992 11,410 1999 14,807
1986 16,515 1993 14,324 2000 16,172
1987 25,600 1994 15,947 2001 16,650
1988 40,367* 1995 12,396 2002 not confirmed
1989 29,048 1996 16,100 2003 ?
1990 21,804 1997 18,540
1991 17,000 1998 11,38511,385
· These figures do not include animals struck and lost which may
account for a further 50,000 animals overall.
· A further 10-20,000 more Dall's porpoises are thought to be
and killed in Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean drift-net fisheries
Pacific each year.
· In 1986, the Dall's porpoise population off Japan was believed
number around 105,000 animals. Based on these estimates, the 1988
1989 kills alone represented a combined take of over 60% of the
· In 1990, the IWC passed a resolution calling upon Japan to
kill to no more than 5-10,000 animals per year. Japan refused
the Dall's catch would be reduced provided coastal minke whaling
allowed to resume.
· The IWC affords no protection for small cetaceans (dolphins and
porpoises) that are under increasing threat from hunting, toxic
pollution, entanglement in fishing gears, over-fishing, loss of
and noise pollution including lethal military sonar.
· The average Dall's porpoise yields around 60 kilos of meat. The
can fetch up to ?11 (20 euro) per kilo and more, making the value
single porpoise as much as ?700 (approx 1200 euro) Total retail
of catch approx : 22million euro or more
Campaign Whale, PO Box 2673, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 5BZ UK.
Tel/Fax +44 1273 471403 email: email@example.com
Yesterday, both new whale sanctuary proposals failed to reach the
vote necessary to pass, thanks once again to Japan's 'recruiting'
policy that means they can now rely on around 20 votes to block
anything they don't like. Once, again, Ireland abstained on both
as they are still advocating a compromise on coastal whaling.
The Russian proposal to delete the words 'have been recognised'
the Schedule against the gray whale quota they 'share' with the
whalers was referred to an intercessional working group. Many
here have no doubt that this is an attempt by the US
remove 'unhelpful' language that NGO domestic US lawsuits depend
challenging the Makah hunt.
There has been little happening so far today as the meeting was
suspended all morning for a private Commissioners meeting. The
resulted in a letter from the Chair to all NGOs demanding an
for offensive and inaccurate articles appearing in ECO - the NGO
newsletter. NGOs have delivered a reply saying they do not know
inaccuracies' the Commission is referring to. Some NGOs are
a threat they may lose their accreditation to attend future IWCs.
articles in question refer to 'allegations' of vote-buying by the
Japanese and certain Caribbean States that attend the IWC and
Japan. We await developments.
Despite the addition of Nicaragua and Belize (who both voted with
today) a proposal by Japan for a quota of 150 Bryde's whales,
the commercial whaling moratorium, for its coastal communities was
defeated. Japan has also submitted a proposal for a further 150
whales for its coastal whalers. Every year of the moratorium Japan
submitted a proposal for 50 minke whales to relieve the 'distress'
caused to these communities by the moratorium. Last year, Japan
announced that these 50 whales had been added to their 'scientific
research' whaling catch anyway.
In what looks like will be a repeat of Shimonoseki, the Commission
set to work late tonight to get through its agenda. They are yet
discuss bycatch, 'scientific' whaling in Japan and Iceland's new
proposal and environmental threats including contaminants in whale
Japan are expected to walk out when this item is discussed.
The report from the working group on the RMS suggests that their
been little progress as neither side is prepared to give way on
fundamental principles. Certain, countries are continuing to
compromise solution to allow whaling to resume within EZs. With
passing of the 'Berlin Initiative' on Monday, which establishes a
Conservation Committee' at the IWC, there is a fear that these
countries will want to offer Japan something by return. GWA
oppose the RMS as it is a management plan for the resumption of
commercial whaling. We are continuing to press these countries to
prevent any such deal being made here this week.
Today, Campaign Whale and Project Blue Sea held a demonstration at
Japanese Embassy in Berlin against the annual slaughter of dall's
porpoise and other small whales by Japan. This year over 300,000
porpoises will have been slaughtered during the moratorium and
has refus3d to supply any data to the Scientific Committee so that
population can be assessed. In 2001, the IWC passed a resolution
calling on Japan to stop this hunt. Unfortunately, despite being
largest directed hunt of whales in the world, few NGOs seem
in this issue. Our demonstration today also highlighted that
and dolphin meat is contaminated with mercury and PCBs and poses a
health risk to Japanese consumers and is often mislabeled as
We have lobbied for strong statements to be made on this issue and
will see what happens tomorrow when small cetaceans are discussed.
We hope to also get a strong statement against Norway.
Best to all for now
Andy Ottaway at IWC Berlin for
Campaign Whale and the Global Whale Alliance