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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Whaling : Government refuses dolphin quota increase

The Japanese language internet newspaper "Ryukyu Shimpo" (based in the southern islands of Okinawa) has an article about Okinawa's Nago city fishermens' desires for an increased dolphin catch quota.

Apparently of the nationwide quota of 21,120, Okinawa fishermen are allocated just 120. The prefecture issues permits for the hunting, but only 6 vessels are currently permitted. Some other fishermen are feeling disillusioned, as the 6 vessels have a monopoly over the hunt. Additionally, when the vessel owners retire they transfer the permits to their sons, which has created family monopolies over the fishery.

The prefecture has apparently been inundated with new dolphin hunting permit requests, but the central government, which regulates the hunt nationwide, has knocked back requests for quota increases.

The response from the Whaling Section of the Fisheries Agency was that "We will be reviewing the nationwide dolphin catch quota shortly, but according to recent scientific research, dolphin numbers aren't increasing, and thus it is unlikely that we will increase the catch limit. We can not cater to the Prefecture's request".

The article also notes that those fishers who do have permits note that dolphin hunting is a tough business that would be hard to make a complete living off. Apparently 70% of the catch is sold to Fukuoka where higher prices can be fetched for the meat.

My view: Naturally, in the absence of evidence increasing dolphin numbers the central government should not be contemplating quota increases. The article notes that only 76% of the quota is taken nationwide. Perhaps they might consider reallocating some of the quota to areas with higher interest, although this would need to be evaluated properly from a conservation perspective.


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