Japanese fishermen driving a pod ofRisso's dolphins off the coast of TaijiPhoto: Sea ShepherdIt would be a tragedy to marine life to allow Japan to continue to control the Senkaku Diaoyu Tiaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. In light of the ongoing slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan and the continued killing of whales by Japan in the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society wishes to support Chinese efforts to assert sovereignty over the islands known as the Diaoyu Islands by China and the Tiaoyu Islands by Taiwan.
The Japanese have referred to the islands as the Senkaku Islands since they were forcibly annexed by Japan from China in 1895. Sea Shepherd is concerned that Japanese control over the islands will lead to the slaughter of more dolphins and whales. “We do not want to see the waters around these islands run red with the blood of dolphins and whales,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Japan has demonstrated they do not have the ecological integrity nor the environmental responsibility to manage these island ecosystems.” Sea Shepherd would like to extend an offer to China to invite our organization to send one of our ships to the islands to investigate the local populations of dolphins and other marine wildlife species that would be threatened if Japan occupies the islands.
Our concern is for the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands and the waters around the islands. If Japan decides to develop these islands, it would have serious consequences for island flora and fauna. Japan's mistreatment of dolphins is vividly evident in Taiji, Japan where hundreds of dolphins are ruthlessly slaughtered every year. The dolphins of Diaoyu should not be threatened by continued Japanese occupation of islands they violently stole from China in 1895.
Although China continues to have issues with allowing the captivity of dolphins and the consumption of shark fin soup, Sea Shepherd has been encouraged by the decision of the Chinese government to ban shark fins at state functions. Sea Shepherd sees China as willing to make concessions in the interests of marine conservation and they have done so, whereas Japan has been intractable on the same issues.
Body of a Risso's dolphin being transferred in Taiji, JapanPhoto: Sea Shepherd