Japan’s Annual Dolphin Drive Hunt Threats Ecosystem


Annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan

      I read a new article and it was about Japan’s dolphin drive hunt. In the small coastal town of Taiji, hundreds to thousands of dolphins and small whales are captured and killed each year during the annual dolphin drive hunt. Officially, the main purpose of the dolphin hunt is to provide dolphin meat to the Japanese people. But only a small minority of people in Japan actually eats the meat. According to <<Save Japan Dolphins>> website, it says “the fishermen told us that they do not only hunt dolphins for their meat or for sale to the dolphinarium industry. In their own words, they kill the dolphins “as a form of pest control.” The dolphins, from the fishermen’s perspective, eat too much fish, and the fishermen are simply killing the competition”. The hunting is done by a select group of fishermen. When a pod of dolphins has been spotted, they’re driven into a bay by the fishermen while banging on metal rods in the water to scare and confuse the dolphins. When the dolphins are in the bay, it is quickly closed off with nets so the dolphins cannot escape. I really like animals like dolphins, and I do care about this topic.

   We know how dolphins are smart. Dolphins are often regarded as one of Earth’s most intelligent animals, though it is hard to say just how intelligent. For example, they live together highly socially, and they even also display culture. In addition, dolphins are very friendly animal with human being. Even though people get closer with them, they never get scared, just trust people. How can people threat those charming and pure creature? I don’t really understand why people want to hunt dolphins.

      I heard that dolphins are really important in our ecosystem from a aquarium trainer when I was young. Therefore, I think this event can cause influence not only the number of dolphins but also our ecosystem. Dolphins – like many other high-level predators – are prey mainly on old and ill fish. This way they are playing an important role in fighting infectious diseases among fish populations and ensure the reproduction of fisheries resources. By killing dolphins, we are killing the sanitary police of the oceans, which may result in more diseases and diminished fish populations. To kill a dolphin, therefore, means to directly damage sustainable fisheries. So they are acting as an ecology indicator. Also, dolphins play a valuable part in marine study and assists scientists in learning more about their species, as well as other ocean life. Ecologists can study the stomach contents of dolphins to see what specific fish they eat and estimate how much they are consuming of the fish population. Now I can see that dolphins are playing important role in our ecosystem, and Japan’s dolphin drive hunt event harms it. 

     During I was searching for this topic, I found an interesting article. This article is about some facts we don’t know about this event. For example, one of them is that the dolphin slaughter isn’t actually a tradition, and another is that the highly lucrative dolphin captivity industry is truly what motivates the slaughter. But now, Japanese are also taking action against the slaughter. That means people all over the world try to change this brutal event- and then our ecosystem can be better. There is already a movie about this; The Cove, so you can refer.

-Juhee Jamie Kong


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