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Where Dolphins Are Revered in Japan
March 15, 2012

On a small island 100 miles from Tokyo islanders, mostly fishermen, have declared resident dolphins to be citizens, fully protected while in the island's waters.


The fishermen of Toshima Island show us how some Japanese revere and protect wild dolphins. BlueVoice is supporting our long time Japanese ally, Elsa Nature Conservancy, to help the Toshima Islanders educate Japan about the wonders of wild dolphins.

The Toshima Dolphin Project will expand knowledge of this unique island and the relationship between the people of the island and its 16 resident dolphins. It will provide a vision that will inspire their fellow countrymen and bring to them an understanding of the importance of allowing dolphins to remain free and safe from hunters' blades. As we all know, Japan is a nation where up to 20,000 dolphins are killed yearly.

Now we are supporting a dolphin watching initiative at Toshima Island in the hope that contact with wild dolphins and press coverage of this unique development will cause the Japanese people to rally to the protection of dolphins elsewhere in Japan.


Here is a description of the Toshima Dolphin Project written by Sakae Hemmi of Elsa Nature Conservancy, long a collaborator with BlueVoice.


"In 1995 a dolphin came to Toshima waters and remained. In 1998 the dolphin, named Koko, gave birth. The baby was called Piko. The mother and baby were so revered that they were registered as citizens of the island. Around 2010 several dolphins from Mikura island moved to Toshima and several have given birth. As of February 2012, a pod of 16 dolphins swims in the waters of Toshima."

Unfortunately the pivotal man in the Toshima Dolphin Project, Mr. Moriyama, died in February. But others have picked up the banner. Right now funds are urgently needed to finish the project website, send a video team to the island to film the dolphins and fishermen, to make a DVD for release in Japan and to hold a symposium in Tokyo on dolphins in Japanese waters.

Sakae writes further: "I think it important to have many people learn and experience that wild dolphins are animals that we can make friends with and live together. Toshima is a very important place to raise the Japanese people's consciousness to protect wild dolphins."


Dedicated to the memory of Moriyama-san


For the dolphins,

Hardy Jones

Our 30 Years Working to Save the Dolphins of Japan

For many years I believed that exposing the killing at Taiji would end the brutal killing of dolphins. It had worked at Iki in 1980. But it has not worked at Taiji. Publication of test results on mercury levels in dolphin meat has cut the demand and prices are falling. But the killing continues.

In Futo we supported the establishment of a whale & dolphin watching business by Izumi Ishii, former head of the dolphin hunters. There has been no hunt for dolphins at Futo in 5 years.

The positive image presented by the Toshima islanders, coupled with the knowledge of dolphin meat as a health hazard, will help bring a final end to the dreadful killing of dolphins.

Watch Mr. Ishii's transformation from dolphin hunter to dolphin watcher

Video: Experience being amidst a pod of dolphins

Video: Spinner Dolphins Put on a Show

Video: Wild Dolphins Play with Wind-up Toy Fish

Video: Dolphin Captivity - The Harsh Truth

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