End Sea Lion Hunting in Japan


Target: Kenji Kagawa, director of Japan’s Fishery Agency’s Resources Enhancement Promotion Department

Goal: End the hunting and eating of endangered sea lions in Japan

The Steller sea lions that reside off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan are an endangered species that deserve protection.  Unfortunately, they are routinely killed and sold for their meat, despite their protected status both in Japan and worldwide.  This is a travesty not only because the hunting of an endangered species is unethical, but also shameful in light of Japan’s history hunting marine mammals to near or full extinction.

Sea lions, like all marine mammals, are majestically intelligent creatures with an intuitive nature and complex communication systems.  It is illegal to kill one in the United States and Canada.  In Japan, their killing is supposed to be limited to an extremely small number in isolated areas for the sole purpose of reducing competition for fisheries.  Although in ancient times sea lion and seal meat was necessary for sustenance in many areas throughout the world, such reliance on the sea lion for food is no longer necessary and should be abolished.

In Hokkaido, Japan and the surrounding area, sea lion and seal meat is sold in cans as a novelty food.  Cans of “sea lion curry” and “seal curry” are sold primarily in souvenir shops and online stores, but are not dietary staples of locals in the area.  According to vice.com, one online advertisement for seal meat relied on the exotic and forbidden nature of the product saying, “Sea Lions are called the ‘gangsters of the ocean’; they break through nets, consume huge amounts of fish. They’re the archenemy of the fisherman. However, in Hokkaido they are a delicacy. In order to preserve the deliciousness, they’re boiled the traditional Japanese way (with ginger, miso, sugar).”  Killing off an already endangered species is too high a price to pay for a silly gag gift for out-of-towners.

Although Steller sea lions were recently downgraded by the Japanese government from an endangered species to a “near endangered species” they are still highly threatened and considered deeply endangered elsewhere.  Kenji Kagawa, the director of the Resources Enhancement Promotion Department in Japan’s Fishery Agency has the power to speak out on this issue and end the selling of seal and sea lion meat in his country.  Call on him to do so today.


Dear Kenji Kagawa,

The hunting of any threatened or endangered species for recreation or consumption is reprehensible.  Steller sea lions, although no longer technically considered endangered by the government of Japan, are still considered worldwide to be a highly vulnerable species.  They are being killed off so that their meat may be sold to tourists; this kind of animal cruelty is shameful and unnecessary.

I am writing today to urge you to speak out and commit to the protection of Steller sea lions living off the coast of Hokkaido, so that future generations may enjoy this beautiful marine mammal.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lauber Lon E via wikimedia commons.

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  1. Craig Miller says:

    Japan, your history with marine life is horrible, but you can do the right thing & stop the killing !!!

  2. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    Japan, Japan, Japan. You want to be like the West and yet you are so backward. Tall buildings and cool fashions don’t enrich your soul or erase karma.

  3. Gillian Devine says:

    Japan’s treatment or marine life is shocking !!!

    Whales, dolphins, sea lions are all hunted. Blackban
    Japan until they stop this unnecessary killing of these beautiful marine animals.

  4. Perhaps the needed action is to make the sale of sea lion meat illegal. The way it is marketed, it seems that nobody but a real sick individual would eat it anyway.

  5. Cecily Colloby. says:

    Surprise, surprise! Not content with the “traditional” murder of dolphins , it seems the Japanese are now murdering seals-and no doubt anything else that moves. I suppose we can only live in hope that, when every last animal in Japan has been destroyed, the Japanese will starve to death……

  6. Sheila Jefferson says:


  7. Cindy Steib says:

    I’m sorry to say but a lot of Asian people are so cruel to animals. They have no respect for life. I could name dozens of ways they hurt animals but I think we all know them already. Sick, sick, sick!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Melody Eaton says:

    Is there no animal on this earth that is not on the japanese menu or scientic research list!! These people are monstrous!!!

  9. Mary A from New Hampshire says:

    What is wrong with the Japanese people and Asian countries in general??? The Japanese kill everything!! All fish from all over the world, sea lions, killing coves to kill dolphins and they kill whales internationally. Australia and the rest of the world tries to chase them down to stop their illegal activity and obvious disrespect for the rest of the world and international laws on whaling . Other Asian countries kill dogs cats lions tigers elephants , abuse bears and the same stuff as the Japanese. Usually in a torturous manner or for some messed up idea in Asian medicine

    Don’t they realize that if you want to be respected as a civilized nation that you cannot act like sick barbarians?? This does not reflect well on Japan or any nation that chooses to act like barbarians who kill, abuse, and eat absolutely anything and have no regard for conservation and humanity. I will never visit that country again. Japan– clue give the day– This is NOT viewed positively by the rest of the world!

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