Group: Japan sea hunts risk for species, consumers

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Associated Press

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 1:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 1:04 AM

TOKYO (AP) — An environmental group says that Japan's hunts of smaller whales, dolphins and porpoises threaten some species with extinction, while consumers are at risk from toxins in their meat.

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency, an independent conservation group, says Japan's catch quotas are based on data collected as much as 20 years ago.

The report issued Thursday says some species have been overhunted beyond the point of recovery, while the lucrative market in live catches for aquariums, especially in China, pose another risk.

Japan set its catch limit for the small cetaceans at 16,655 in 2013, far below the 30,000 caught annually before limits were set in 1993. It defends its coastal whaling as a longstanding tradition, source of livelihood and as necessary for scientific research.

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