Target: Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan
Goal: Discontinue the slaughter of sea mammals in Japanese waters
Dall’s Porpoises, a small whale-like mammal, are currently being fished in unsustainable amounts off the coasts of Japan. After the country’s ban on the sale of whale and dolphin meats, fishermen turned to the unprotected Dall’s porpoise to fill the market void. The amount of these cold water mammals being killed is rising, and if continued could cause a serious impact on population levels.
The porpoises are attracted to items on the water’s surface, and are harpooned when they rise for air. As they travel in numbers, the harpoons are attached to floats so that fishermen may leave them flailing in the water while they pursue more prey. Once aboard the boat, the 400 lb creatures are left to bleed out or die of shock.
After the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, many porpoise hunting fleets were destroyed and catches dipped, however recent numbers show a resurgence in the trade. If allowed to return to the peak of 40,000 porpoises caught annually, the species could be at risk of decline.
An annual porpoise hunting festival in Iwate sees thousands slaughtered – there are seven times more Dall’s porpoises harpooned there annually than dolphins slaughtered in Taiji Cove.
Porpoise meat has been found to contain high levels of mercury and other toxins harmful to humans. Industrial pollutants like these can be accumulated in human bodies and become toxic over time. There have been no tests conducted by the government to determine the safety of ingesting the meat.
Dall’s porpoises face many threats in the form of climate change, accidental entanglement in fishing nets, and even fatal military sonar. Further stress on the population is irresponsible and could be detrimental to population health. Your signature will demand that the Prime Minister of Japan stop over-exploiting these animals for an unsafe source of food.
Dear Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan,
The amount of Dall’s porpoises being harpooned off the coast of Japan is rising again. The amount of animals being killed is not sustainable, and could be detrimental to the species population and lead to irreversible decline.
Though these animals are caught for food purposes, the safety of their consumption has not been established. High amounts of toxins and mercury have been found in the flesh of porpoises and dolphins caught in Japanese waters. These pollutants can be fatal to humans in large numbers.
I ask that a study be conducted to assess porpoise population and consumption risks. I ask that scientist recommendations be made and followed regarding these factors in order to promote safe fishing and consumption.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: NancyHeise via WikiMedia Commons