What progress has been made to end dolphin hunts?

Some people are frustrated that the dolphin hunts in Taiji have not ended, and some are surprised that The Cove documentary did not end the dolphin hunts.

We at Earth Island have certainly not stopped our efforts, which began in 2004, to end the slaughter and will continue to do our utmost to end it.

There has been some important progress in the past few years:

  • When Earth Island’s Save Japan Dolphins Campaign began in 2004, there were about 1,600 dolphins killed in Taiji that year.  In the 2014-15 season, about 750 were killed.  Our contacts in Taiji tell us the reason is that the market for dolphin meat from Taiji has dropped considerably, due in large part to our campaign effort to educate the Japanese people about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated dolphin meat.
  • Many new Japanese activists have begun to speak out and conduct public protests against the dolphin hunts and whaling.  Many have gone to Taiji at our invitation to see for themselves what is happening.
  • Worldwide publicity about the dolphin hunts has been generated, and thousands of people around the world are objecting to the dolphin hunts.  Major media stories appear regularly, especially due to the publicity generated by the documentary The Cove.  Earth Island has presented signatures of more than 2.4 million people against the hunts to the Japanese government and US Ambassador in Japan.
  • In 2015, after a ten-year campaign by Earth Island and other organizations, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums finally demanded that Japanese members of the Association cease sourcing live dolphins from Taiji for their aquarium shows.  As sales of live dolphins is a major source of income for the dolphin hunters in Taiji, this step will help us shut the hunts down.

We are proud of this progress, and believe we can achieve much more.  We believe our strategies are key to ending the hunts, including focusing on educating the Japanese public about the hunts, supporting Japanese activist groups and individuals who protest the hunts, publicizing the hunts worldwide to keep pressure on the Japan government, and – most important – never giving up!

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