The Danger of Mercury in Dolphin Meat

People Should Not Eat Dolphin or Whale Meat

By Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Dolphin Project

We know, from Japanese scientists, that dolphins and small whales are heavily contaminated by mercury.  No one should be eating meat from dolphins and small whales.

Yet the Japanese government, fully aware of the dangers of mercury contamination, ignores this problem and allows mercury-poisoned dolphin and whale meat to be sold in markets.  Japanese consumers are exposed to danger but not warned.

Japanese scientists, such as Dr. Tetsuya Endo, have conducted extensive scientific studies of mercury contamination of dolphin and small whale meat.  Dr. Endo and his colleagues have found time and time again:

• Mercury levels can be 20 to 5,000 times higher in dolphin and small whale meat than levels recommended by the UN World Health Organization and the Japanese Ministry of Health.

• These levels raise grave issues of poisoning Japanese citizens who consume dolphin and whale meat with mercury.

• In addition to mercury, other dangerous pollutants like PCBs and cadmium can be found in dolphin and small whale meat bought for food in Japanese markets.  Radiation is an additional worry after the nuclear accident in the Fukushima Prefecture.

• The results of Dr. Endo’s and his colleagues’ research are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Dolphin Project’s Save Japan Dolphins Campaign and several other environmental organizations have asked Japanese laboratories to test dolphin and whale meat for mercury and other contaminants.  These scientific studies by Japanese experts prove that dolphins and small whales contain levels of mercury that are extremely large – often thousands of times higher than levels considered healthy by the Japanese Health Ministry.

To see our full report on mercury in dolphin meat, including links to key scientific studies and other organizations that have been testing for toxins in dolphin and whale meat, go to:



The Japanese government is being irresponsible with the health of the Japanese people.  This is a human rights issue for the people of Japan to have this important and timely information.

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

About Ric O'Barry

View All Posts

Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.

In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.

From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.

Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.

O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.

Author: Ric O'Barry


Lost your password?