Japan’s hunting of dolphins, smaller whales and porpoises is threatening some species with extinction in its coastal waters, a report by a British environmental group has said.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) report says that more than a million such creatures have been killed in Japanese hunts in the past 70 years.
It says that each year thousands are killed despite conservation concerns.
The Japanese government has not commented on the report.
But it has consistently defended its coastal whaling as a longstanding tradition, a source of livelihood and necessary for scientific research.
The government has also argued that small cetaceans should be excluded from the International Convention on Whaling.
The Japanese practice of driving many dolphins and porpoises onto beaches to be slaughtered has drawn international condemnation.
The EIA says that it is also unsustainable, and a danger to human health. Studies have found high levels of mercury and industrial chemicals like PCBs in dolphin and porpoise meat.
One study found people living in one dolphin-eating community in central Japan have mercury levels five times higher than normal.
“A comprehensive analysis of the available scientific data demonstrates unequivocally that there are grave concerns regarding the sustainability of these hunts,” the EIA report says.
It goes on to accuse the government of “displaying a lack of responsibility” in ensuring the sustainability of small cetacean populations in Japanese waters – warning that its annual quota of 16,000 dolphins is far too high.
The EIA says that the quota is based on 20-year-old data and that dolphin populations are much lower now.
The conservation status of each species varies, the report says, depending on its range and hunting practices.
Catch limits for Dall’s porpoises are 4.7-4.8 times higher than the safe threshold, it claims.
For the striped dolphin, once the mainstay of the industry but now endangered and disappearing from some areas, catches have dropped from more than 1,800 in the 1980s to about 100 today.
Anyone who has seen the documentary The Cove will know how controversial Japan’s annual dolphin hunt can be.
Hundreds of animals are driven into a bay where men jump into the water and cut their throats, turning the sea red.
How Scuba Diving can help you overcome physical and mental challenges
This International Disabilities Day (December 3 2022) PADI is reminding the world of the healing aspects that the ocean (or any body of water) can provide us all and how important of a modality it is for helping those with physical or mental challenges improve their wellbeing. From simply being within close proximity of it or diving beneath the salty surface for an underwater adventure, the ocean is also healing.
Regardless of your age, ability, or even limitations, the ocean can benefit us physically, emotionally and even spiritually. This is why PADI is on a mission to make those benefits accessible to all, launching their Adaptive Techniques Diving Course in the hopes that all of humanity can experience the full transformational power the ocean offers us.
While many are more familiar with traditional therapies, whether it be diving, mermaiding or freediving, people around the world have been forever changed by connecting with the water – conquering mental or physical perceived limitations.
There are an estimated one billion people on the planet that have a physical and/or mental disability – imagine the power that diving and immersion can have on this population if awarded the opportunity.
PADI’s history is replete with people whose lives have been transformed by connecting with the water because they were able to experience and explore the underwater world through PADI programme and certifications. PADI’s approach to diver education has always been inclusive and is a key pillar to their Pillars of Change. Everyone who meets prerequisites is welcome to join the global community of 29 million+ certified PADI Divers.
PADI created two courses that focus on increasing awareness of varying diver abilities and exploring adaptive teaching techniques to apply when training and diving with physically and mentally challenged divers: the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty and the PADI Adaptive Support Diver course.
These courses further expand Instructors’ and Divemasters’ abilities to be student-centered and prescriptive in approach when adapting techniques to meet diver needs. Here are the various ways PADI helps those with disabilities overcome all their challenges by connecting them with water:
1. Improved Muscular Movement, Light Sensitivity and PTSD Symptoms
A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found, “veterans with spinal cord injuries who underwent a four-day scuba diving certification saw significant improvement in muscle movement, increased sensitivity to light touch and pinprick on the legs, and large reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.”
2. Lifts Your Mental State and Mood
Did you know that the ocean air can literally lift your mood? “The sound and vision of the ocean lift our mood,” says consultant psychiatrist Dr Arghya Sarkhel. “The touch of sand and the smell of a seaside breeze leads to relaxation. On a biological level, this audio-visual stimulus incites our parasympathetic nervous system—that activates ‘rest and digest’, as opposed to ‘fight or flight’,” he says. Now scientists are quantifying the positive cognitive and physical effects of water and the improved sense of physical health and well-being.
Equally diving into the therapeutic benefits that diving can provide is Jeffery Puncher, Director for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottowa. He is currently developing a virtual reality diving programme to help his patients find relief from stress and anxiety–using calming scenes of coral reefs and the swaying seas along with the soothing sounds of bubbles beneath the surface. This programme is currently being used with medical students, residents and faculty, with the goal of growing it to be adopted nationwide to help also support the psychological health of first responders.
3. Provides You with a Sense of Peace
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, has done extensive research on the ocean’s unique ability to induce a state of what he calls the “Blue Mind” in human beings. Blue Mind is a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. Nichols states that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and heal us on a deep level.
4. Enhanced Physical Movement
Being in the water allows you the opportunity to experience a feeling of flexibility and freedom that those with disabilities would rarely get to experience on land. This is because on land the muscles become restricted by the force of gravity. But in the water, that sensation drifts away and is replaced by the freedom to feel the freedom of movement.
5. Confidence and Control
The freedom of enhanced physical movement in the water also provides a sense of increased confidence and control. They can explore beneath the surface just like able-bodied people can do, which equally increases their own self-belief and feelings of empowerment.
6. Anxiety Relief
Those with disabilities who equally suffer from anxiety can find tranquility beneath the surface. By having to focus on your breath and being in the moment, all of the mental stress that can come with having a disability is no longer top of mind and instead allows for an escape in which you can truly enjoy the moment.
Find out more at www.padi.com
Scubapro Winter Promo: free gift!
Divers can look forward to the cold-water season this winter, as SCUBAPRO is offering a free K2 Light undersuit set (top & pants) to all scuba enthusiasts who purchase an EVERDRY 4.0 neoprene dry suit by 15 January.
The EVERDRY 4.0 is a high-quality dry suit made from compressed neoprene. It combines the slim fit, comfort and flexibility of a wetsuit with the warmth and tightness of a dry suit.
The K2 Light Set is the ideal undergarment for neoprene dry suits. Its light grid plush material reliably holds the warmth where you need it in cold waters. The Everdry’s elastic wrist loops and heel strap suspenders keep sleeves and pants in place under the suit. Available in men’s and women’s sizes.
A combination that turns your cold-water lake into a hotspot!
For more information visit the Scubapro website.
WIN a c-monsta Wetsuit Hanger!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with c-monsta to give away one of their wetsuit hangers as a prize!...
WIN a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag as...
Win a Vasili Lights Fish Lantern!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with Vasili Lights to give away one of their beautiful Fish Lanterns! Inspired...
WIN a Beuchat Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!...
News2 months ago
Marine Life & Conservation2 weeks ago
Book Review: The Sea Lions of Los Islotes
News2 weeks ago
Into the Blue
News2 months ago
Deptherapy charity to close in August 2023
Gear Reviews3 months ago
Gear Review: Gemini Switch Box from Lungfish (Watch Video)
Winners - Underwater Photography Contests2 months ago
September 2022 Photo Contest Winner and Review
Gear News3 months ago
Introducing Apple Watch Ultra – including new Depth app for Scuba Diving
Winners - Underwater Videography Contests2 months ago
September 2022 Video Contest Winner and Review