Environmentalists in Costa Rica took to the streets Tuesday as part of a worldwide effort, they said, to protest the “systematic killing of dolphins” by the Japanese.
The protest, which took place in front of the Japanese Embassy in La Sabana, just west of San José, was kicked off by the peaceful delivery to Japanese Ambassador Yoshihiko Sumi of a floral arrangement festooned with dolphin images.
According to Luis Diego Marín, coordinator of an international environmental group known as preserveplanet.org, Japanese fishermen are responsible “for the deaths of 20,000 dolphins each year,” as well as small whales in the coastal waters of that country.
The group says that, considering dolphins’ intelligence, “each stage of this hunt, from the chase, to the killing, to the management and processing of the mammal produces a great quantity of stress, suffering and pain in these highly sensitive animals.”
They propose the preservation of dolphins for tourism and research purposes.
Japanese Consul Yasuhisa Suzuki said he appreciated the peaceful protest, adding that in other countries “they throw stones.”
Suzuki said the dolphin fishery is sustainable and regulated by the Japanese Ministry of Fisheries, and asked that Costa Ricans understand that “every country has its own history, tradition and culture.”
“We ask that they respect our diversity and history,” he said.