Drive Fishery in Futo was recommenced

on November 11, 2004


Posted: 21 Nov. 2004

In the morning of November 11, we were informed that dolphin drive hunts started at 9:00 a.m. and that more than ten fishing boats from Futo were working to drive dolphins into Futo Fishing Port on Shizuoka Prefecture’s Izu Peninsula. At 11:00 a.m. the dolphins were driven near to Futo Port, and finally, at 11:45 a.m. about 100 bottlenose dolphins were confined in the port. The drive fishery in Futo succeeded after an interval of five years. The following is a brief report from Futo.

The number of dolphins lifted out of the water by aquarium-staff and fishermen:
Lifting of dolphins out of the water started at 9:30 a.m. on November 12, and finished at around 1:00 p.m. We recorded the lifted number and the time every time a sling was put down into the water by crane.

We confirmed that 19 dolphins were selected and lifted in all. However, we surmised that quite a few dolphins were drowned and sank to the bottom of the port or died of shock.

The following is the number of the dolphins captured or died/killed in this drive fishery in Futo reported by Shizuoka Prefecture and the Japan Fisheries Agency.
Fourteen dolphins were taken by 6 aquariums,
One was attached a transmitter (too big!) on its dosal fin and released,
Five were slaughtered for research and human consumption,
Four were died of shock or drowned & sank to the bottom of the port.

Aquariums which bought dolphins from Futo drive fishery:
1)Shin-Enoshima Suizokukan
2)Awashima Marine Park
3)Marine Road/Dolphin Fantasy
4)Hosaka Marine Project
5)Shimoda-Kaichu Suizokukan
6)Shinagawa Suizokukan

There remains some doubt about the number of released dolphins:
Lifting live dolhins started at 9:30 a.m. on November 12 and the color of the sea turned reddish around 10:30 a.m. Many dolphins were panicked, injured, bled, and struggled being caught in the circulating fishing nets. It seemed that more than several dolphins died of shock or drowned in panic and sank to the bottom of the sea.

At 1:20 p.m. fishermen removed the nets and began to drive the remained dolphins away out of the port, threatening them by banging metal poles hung down into the water. (When they removed the nets, we witnessed that several dolphins had been caught in them. They nearly drowned and were injured. They looked too weak to survive.)

The Fishing Cooperative and newspapers reported that fishermen released 80 dolphins to the ocean, but it seemed to me that they were far less than 80. Furthermore, many of them were so injured and weak that their ability to survive in the wild was endangered.

Keep-Out Signboards and Strict Guard to hide cruel capture and slaughter:
Fishermen, local police and the staff of Japan Fisheries Agency/the National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries kept strict watch and tried to stop our videotaping and photographing. While dolphins were slaughtered and cut apart into meat in a tent on the shore, no one could take photos of the scene. Fishermen even prevented tourists from taking photos of the sea from the street. All the paths down to the port were blocked with signboards of “Keep-Out,” and police and fishermen were on guard.

However, we could witness that backets of meat were carried away from the slaughter tent, and that blood streamed down to the sea from the tent. It clearly revealed what was going on in the tent.

Dead dolphins were collected??
In the night on Nov. 12, I noticed that a couple of fishing boats were moving
around in the port, illuminating with spotlights on the water. It continued for a few hours till 11:30 p.m. It seemed that fishermen were searching for dead dolphins that had sank in the port. However, it was too dark and I could not confirm it from the place I was.

In the next morning on November 13, the Keep-Out signboards were removed. I went down to the port, and found that the wide entrance of the slaughterhouse was covered with blue sheet so that no one could see inside.

The slaughter of dolphins was done in the tent far from the slaughterhouse the day before, and it had already finished. Though I couldn’t confirm it, I surmise that fishermen might be able to retrieve dead dolphins which had sank in the port and cut them apart into meat in the slaughterhouse.

Later, I heard that one adult dolphin and one baby were found to be floating in the port early in the morning before I visited there. They must also have been cut apart into meat there.

The price of a dolphin sold to aquariums:
This time the price of a dolphin for aquariums was \380,000 ~\400,000, which is said to be much less expensive than in Taiji.

Dolphin Fantasy:
On my way back, I visited a sea-pen of Marine Road/Dolphin Fantasy in the busy port in Ito City, and found three new dolphins from Futo drive fishery swimming with Nami-chan, only one survivor of this facility. As usual, the sea was noisy with many fishing boats coming in and out of the port, the water was filthy, and the sea-pen was too small. Now the Dolphin Fantasy keeps four dolphins in its small pen. The three newcomers seemed to be still in panic and restlessly swam around in the pen, while Nami-chan was much less energetic.

Newspaper Reports:
In Futo we collected newspapers which reported the drive fishery. All reports/articles are on the local edition. One of them reported that many baby dolphins were included in the driven pod. Generally, newspaper reports insisted that the Fishing Cooperative killed very small number of dolphins for scientific RESEARCH, captured dolphins ALIVE for aquariums, and RELEASED as many as 80 dolphins. To our regret, many people who read these articles seem to admit this drive fishery and some people praise the drive fishery this time, because the number of dolphins captured and killed was small and that one dolphin was released with a transmitter for scentific research.

Future Drive hunts in Futo:
The chief of the Ito City Fishing Cooperative declared closure/completion of the drive hunt in this hunting season, fullfilling the demand of aquariums. Mr. Suzuki, the chief of the Ito City Fishing Cooperative Futo Branch said that he was very happy to have carried out the drive hunt successfully after five-year-interruption, and that young fishermen could have a good opportunity to learn the skill of drive hunts. The Fishing Cooperative is planning to have a meeting to consider how to do the dolphin drives better next time, which means that there is a high possibility that Futo will be a spot to capture live dolphins and continue to supply dolphins to the captive industry.

The Reality of Aquariums, and the Connection with Drive Fishery:
Futo has not hunted dolphins for five years, and, instead, Dolphin/Whale & Nature Watching business started by a local fisherman and it has been going well. If the captive industry had not demanded dolphins, Futo would not have carried out the drive fishery. The drive fishery is not only unsastainable but also terribly cruel, and it has deep connection with aquariums which are considered as educational facilities.

This time Futo drive fishery clearly illustrated the close relationship between aquariums and drive fisheries. While aquariums claim to be educational facilities, they capture dolphins in ways that totally run counter to those animals’ ecology, thereby helping to destroy pods of dolphins. It also showed that although aquariums sing the praises of dolphin protection, in order to select and obtain dolphins that satisfy their shopping lists, they chase them around ruthlessly, thereby sacrificing the lives of many other dolphins and increasing the dolphis’ suffering.( See the photos of dolphins suffering and drowning in bloody sea.)

In fact aquariums motivate Fishing Cooperative to carry out the drive hunts. The true protection of wild anumals requires that as many people as possible be informed of what aquariums are really up to.

What we can do to Stop future cruel Drive Hunts of dolphins:
Please send your petition/protest letter to:

Sangyoubu Suisangyoukyoku Suisanshigenshitu
(Fisheries Resources Online Room, Division of Fisheries of Shizuoka prefecture)
Fax: +81-54-221-3288

Mr. Yoshinobu Ishikawa, Governor of Shizuoka prefecture:

Ito Fishing Cooperative:

Ito Fishing Cooperative Futo Branch:

Also, Izu Tourist Facilities Council is one of the local tourism bodies.
Their E-mail address is:
Please let them know (politely!) that they are losing tourists because of this dolphin drive.

Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, Tokyo
Visit above website, click the button of “Your Comments” on the right side, and find “links.”
You can also send your comments by clicking “Other Comments (,” which is below the links. In this case your e-mail will be forwarded to the appropriate section.

Fisheries Agency of Japan
Mr. Shuji Yamada, Director-General of Japan Fisheries Agency:
Fax: +81-3-3502-1682

Head of Whaling Section of Japan at Far Seas Fisheries Division in Japan Fisheries Agency
Fax: +81-3-3591-5824

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
Mr. Masatoshi Wakabayashi, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Visit above website and click the button of “Contact MAFF” on the right side.
Fax: +81-3-3580-5556

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Mr. Masahiko Komura, Foreign Minister

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Akira Amari, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Visit above website, and click the button of “Contact us.”

The Ministry of the Environment
Ms. Ichiro Kamoshita, Minister of the Environment
Fax: +81-3-3581-3003
Visit above website, click the button of “MOE-mail” at the bottom.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Mr. Kisaburo Tokai, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Visit above website, and click the button of ””

The Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister of Japan:
Fax: +81-3-3581-3883

The Asahi :

The Yomiuri :

The Mainichi: and

The Sankei:

The Tokyo :

Thank you for your help. We really appreciate it.

Many of the above addresses have been changed since then.

Many petition/protest letters were sent to the above addresses after the drive hunt in 2004, and Futo has suspended the drive hunt of dolphins since 2005. However, catch-quotas are allotted to Futo every year.
Futo’s catch- quotas for the hunting season of 2011~2012 are as follows.
  Pacific white-sided dolphins…………… 36
  striped dolphins………………………… 35
  bottlenose dolphins……………………… 55
  spotted dolphins………………………… 227
  false killer whales………………………… 10
  Total                                               363