Good news from Okinawa:

According to a report from Okinawa, Nago City Mayor, Susumu Inamine, was advised by the “Association to Protect the Northernmost Dugong,” an Okinawa based conservation group, to be cautious about not harming future generations by allowing the human consumption of dolphin/whale meat that is contaminated with mercury. He was also advised that the northern part of Nago is particularly well-suited for development of a tourism industry through whale watching.

The Nago city mayor, Susumu Inamine, announced that he had refrained from serving dolphin/whale meat at school lunches in the recent Whale Forum, which was planned by the former city mayor and held on November 7, 2010 in Nago. City mayor Mr. Inamine promised that the city would test whale/dolphin meat in the market to determine if it is contaminated by mercury, though the testing has not been carried out yet.

Mr. Sangen, mayor of Taiji town, who was invited to the Forum, said that the contamination of dolphin meat is only a rumor, and that he planned to send dolphin meat from Taiji to the markets in Okinawa.

BlueVoice org and Elsa Nature Conservancy in Japan tested mercury, methyl mercury, and PCBs in gondou/pilot whale meat from both Okinawa and Taiji in May and June of this year, 2011. All the results showed high contamination. Under the circumstances, it will be quite difficult for Taiji to expand the market of dolphin meat into Nago.

It is said that the Nago city mayor has a good relationship with NGOs in Nago, and the Association to Protect theNorthernmost Dugong asked the mayor to hold a meeting in the near future to exchange information and discuss various issues of interest to Nago, Okinawa, including the issue of mercury contamination in dolphin meat.