Thursday, February 06, 2014
Not That Many Dolphins Killed - An Update
The Fisheries Research Agency (Suisan Sogo Kenkyujo - pictured above) has an opening for a small cetaceans data specialist. Applicants have to possess a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline or have a Ph.D. completed by the start of the employment term. The position is open to both men and women researchers, with full maternity and child leave benefits.
The applicant would be expected among other duties to be able to calculate the maximum harvestable yield of dolphins and whales in Japan's near seas. If you have a Ph.D. in cetacean studies or statistical biology there is a job waiting for you in the Kanazawa district of Yokohama City. Your application, however, is due TOMORROW (February 7).
Here is the pdf of full job description. (Link - J)
What of interest to me is the figure in the body the job description of "approximately 2,000 head" as the total number of 9 species of dolphins and small whales killed in harpoon and drive hunts in 2012. This is the strongest evidence so far, in the absence of official figures, that my guess of a week ago -- that the quoted canonical figure of up to 22,000 small cetaceans being killed each year in Japanese hunts -- is off by an order of magnitude.
It seems that aside from the smaller Short Finned Pilot Whale harpoon hunt of Okinawa (about 34 animals), the smaller Baird's Beaked Whale hunt of Wadaura, Chiba Prefecture (24 animals) and a tiny (10?) number of Baird's being landed in Hokkaido, the only area still in the business of hunting small cetaceans is Taiji, in Wakayama Prefecture. Activists watching the drive hunts there have counted approximately 600 dolphin killed in the first four months of the hunting season (Link). This number of kills at this point in the season would indicate that the"approximately 2,000 head" figure for all small cetaceans is the new Japan normal.
The 2,000 figure, an 80% drop from the number being killed only five years ago, would also validate another of my suspicions: that there is no commercial market for dolphin meat. It is basically a free good, a supply searching for a demand, a by-product, now, of a need to kill dolphins in order to provide a cover story for Taiji's lucrative live dolphin trade.