Two Japanese aquariums have resigned from the Japanese Association of Aquariums and Zoos (JAZA) due to the ban placed by JAZA in 2015 on members from buying dolphins
caught during the infamous dolphin hunts in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture.
Kaikyokan in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and Shin-Enoshima Aquarium in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, handed in their resignations April 2.
The reason given by Kaikyokan is that the Taiji hunts are legal and JAZA’s ban on Taiji-caught dolphins is “unacceptable.” Shin-Enoshima said it wanted to continue research into breeding dolphins and in order to do so it would be necessary to nurture relations with Taiji and other non-JAZA members. By leaving JAZA the two organisations will be able to purchase dolphins caught by Taiji’s fishermen.
JAZA’s response is that there are other ways to pursue husbandry without trading with Taiji. (Taiji is the subject of the Oscar-award winning film, The Cove.)
Shortly after the JAZA ban I wrote a feature story for The Japan Times here