Blog | The Danger of Mercury in Dolphin Meat

The Danger of Mercury in Dolphin Meat

April 30, 2012 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

People Should Not Eat Dolphin or Whale Meat

By Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Dolphin Project
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute

We know, from Japanese scientists, that dolphins and small whales are heavily contaminated by mercury.  No one should be eating meat from dolphins and small whales.

Yet the Japanese government, fully aware of the dangers of mercury contamination, ignores this problem and allows mercury-poisoned dolphin and whale meat to be sold in markets.  Japanese consumers are exposed to danger but not warned.

Japanese scientists, such as Dr. Tetsuya Endo, have conducted extensive scientific studies of mercury contamination of dolphin and small whale meat.  Dr. Endo and his colleagues have found time and time again:

• Mercury levels can be 20 to 5,000 times higher in dolphin and small whale meat than levels recommended by the UN World Health Organization and the Japanese Ministry of Health.

• These levels raise grave issues of poisoning Japanese citizens who consume dolphin and whale meat with mercury.

• In addition to mercury, other dangerous pollutants like PCBs and cadmium can be found in dolphin and small whale meat bought for food in Japanese markets.  Radiation is an additional worry after the nuclear accident in the Fukushima Prefecture.

• The results of Dr. Endo’s and his colleagues’ research are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Earth Island’s Save Japan Dolphins Campaign and several other environmental organizations have asked Japanese laboratories to test dolphin and whale meat for mercury and other contaminants.  These scientific studies by Japanese experts prove that dolphins and small whales contain levels of mercury that are extremely large – often thousands of times higher than levels considered healthy by the Japanese Health Ministry.

To see our full report on mercury in dolphin meat, including links to key scientific studies and other organizations that have been testing for toxins in dolphin and whale meat, go to:

We've posted this information on our updated Japanese Dolphin Project website, too:

The Japanese government is being irresponsible with the health of the Japanese people.  This is a human rights issue for the people of Japan to have this important and timely information.

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The Danger of Mercury in Dolphin Meat