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World Fisheries Imperiled by Pollution of Ocean Environment

Whale and Dolphin Meat Contains Dangerous Levels of Toxins and is Unsafe for Human Consumption

Those who consume whale and dolphin meat are not only perpetrating a crime against some of the most magnificent animals on earth, they are eating a deadly diet. Whale and dolphin meat consumed in Norway and Japan may contain some of the world’s most dangerous toxins.

A recent analysis of whale meat samples purchased in Norwegian and Japanese markets turned up dangerous levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), including some chemicals that act as estrogen immitators, elevating estrogen levels in women, "feminizing" men and lowering sperm counts.

Long-term exposure to these chemicals has been shown to increase susceptablility to cancer, affect the immune system, and cause neurological damage.

Studies in high regarded medical journals have reported new contaminants data from whale meat sampled in Japan including mercury some 1,600 times above the government permitted level as well as large amounts of organic mercury and cadmium in whale meat that is sold in fish markets and whale sushi bars.

Dr. Roger Payne, one of the world’s most respected whale scientists and an authority on PCBs and other toxic substances said the problem of contamination of the marine environment extends far beyond whales. "We are destroying ocean fisheries by contaminating them with heavy metals and chemical pollutants. In the next few years we could lose access to many ocean fisheries; several species are already well on the way to becoming too polluted to eat. I am amazed by how few people recognize the seriousness of this issue."

Dolphins off Orange County, California are among the most polluted in the world.

Dolphins and whales killed and sold for food in Japan have levels of mercury and organochlorines which are hundreds of times higher than what is considered safe for human consumption. Not only are Japanese marketers of this meat conducting a slaughter that is appalling to the majority of humanity, they are poisoning their own people as well.

Mercury and heavy metals – they’re not just for marine mammals anymore.

On January 14, 2001 the US Food and Drug Administration warned that pregnant women should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because they may contain enough mercury to damage the fetus’s nervous system.

Young children, nursing mothers and women who may become pregnant should avoid those fish as well, FDA said in a consumer advisory.

A National Academy of Sciences report issued last July estimated up to 60,000 children a year were born each year who had been exposed to during pregnancy to levels of mercury that could interfere with development of the brain and nervous system.

Press release provided by

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.