The SEA LIFE Marine Conservation Trust (SLMCT), a registered charity established in 2013 to raise awareness of issues affecting the world’s marine life, issued the following statement condemning the dolphin drive hunts in Taiji, Japan:
“In light of the ongoing dolphin drive hunt season in Taiji, Japan, the SEA LIFE Marine Conservation Trust (SLMCT) – the conservation charity launched by the global network of SEA LIFE centres – strongly condemns these activities and calls upon all zoos and aquaria to cease association with the dolphin drive fishery in Japan.
“The Taiji drives involve the herding of dolphins at sea to be then driven and corralled into the confines of a cove. After sometimes being held for days, the dolphins are then slaughtered for meat or kept alive for sale to marine parks and aquaria across the globe,” said Sarah Taylor, Head of the SEA LIFE Marine Conservation Trust.
“Yearly quotas for these drive hunts reach into the thousands. They are a brutal reminder that we have a very long way to go towards securing a safe and humane future for all whales and dolphins,” she added.
SEA LIFE, with 44 attractions around the world, is working with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), to establish the first permanent sanctuary for captive whales and dolphins where they can be retired or rehabilitated and live a more natural life.”
WDC welcomes the leadership from the SEA LIFE Marine Conservation Trust in condemning the dolphin drive hunts and actively seeking long term solutions to bring an end to whales and dolphins in captivity. With an established policy against holding marine mammals in captivity we hope that SEA LIFE’s strong message as a leader in the aquarium industry will encourage other zoos and aquaria to disassociate from the drive hunts and phase out their captive collections.
WDC believes in supporting incremental change towards an end to the lifecycle of captivity. This includes opposing all sourcing and methods of collection from the wild, raising awareness to reduce the demand from the public, and finding solutions to phase out existing captive programs through the development of sanctuaries or other rehabilitation and retirement options for those individuals that cannot be returned to the wild and must remain in confinement.