Blog | Mercury Issue Hurts Whale Sales

Mercury Issue Hurts Whale Sales

February 21, 2011 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

Mercury Issue Hurts Whale Sales

By Ric O’Barry

Campaign Director

Save Japan Dolphins

Earth Island Institute

Our good friend and Swiss journalist Hans Peter Roth has been traveling in Japan recently, delving deeper into the issue of the Japan dolphin slaughter and alternatives.  Hans Peter sent us this blog about the growing concerns of Japanese consumers with mercury contamination of whale and dolphin meat:


Hiroshi Hasegawa is writer with the Japanese magazine AERA and perhaps the most knowledgeable journalist in the country regarding the mercury issue related to mercury-laced dolphin meat and its health hazards in Japan.

During a meeting in Taiji, Mr. Hasegawa was personally told by chairman of the Taiji Town Council, Katsutoshi Mihara, that the demand for dolphin and whale meat in the year 2010 has been hurt.  This is the result of the public response to news stories related to the mercury issue such as the ones written by Mr. Hasegawa, Mr. Mihara said.  Mr. Mihara expressed his concerns to the investigative journalist about the decreasing sales of whale and dolphin meat.


The town council of Taiji has reason to be concerned.  Reports from Japan indicate that consumption of whale meat (which presumably includes dolphin meat, as the two are often sold labeled as “whale” meat) declined an astonishing 30% in 2010 alone.

As we know, the Japanese government last week took the unprecedented step of recalling their whaling fleet from Antarctica, ending a month early.  The stated reason for the retreat was due to the efforts of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to block the capture of whales.  But Japan’s media also reports that the decline in consumption of whale meat, which has been going on for some time, is also a factor, and may in fact lead to a permanent end to illegal Antarctic whaling by Japan.

Hans Peter has confirmed that our campaign is working.  We are winning the effort to end the killing of whales and dolphins perpetuated by the Japanese government as we continue to promote and publicize the dangers of eating dolphin and whale meat!

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Mercury Issue Hurts Whale Sales