Small Cetaceans of Japan: Exploitation and Biology, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Small Cetaceans of Japan

Exploitation and Biology, 1st Edition

By Toshio Kasuya

Edited by William Perrin

CRC Press

476 pages | 139 B/W Illus.

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This book summarizes and analyzes the biology, ecology, exploitation and management of small cetaceans in Japan. It describes the various types of cetacean fisheries in Japan and their historical development, the life histories and ecologies of the main species involved, and the history and problems of conservation and management. The data show that in some cases the number of small cetaceans harvested exceed sustainable limits and have led to depletion of populations. The book provides a case study of what can go wrong when the needs of industry and conservation collide. The descriptions of life history and ecology are relevant to issues of conservation and management, not just for cetaceans, but for all fisheries around the world.

Table of Contents


Outline of History of Small-Cetacean Fisheries

Importance of History

Iruka vs. Kujira Conservation Measures

Small Cetaceans and Related Fisheries

Recent Statistics for Small-Cetacean Fisheries

Hand-harpoon Fishery for Dolphins and Porpoises

Pre-historic Operations

Hand-harpoon Fishery for Small Cetaceans (1): before World War II

Hand-harpoon Fishery for Small Cetaceans (2): after World War II

Expansion of Dall’s Porpoise Fishery toward the 1980s

Statistics of the Dall’s Porpoise Hand-harpoon Fishery

Hand-harpoon Fishery off Choshi

Hand-harpoon Fishery around Taiji

Crossbow Fishery in Nago

Drive Fisheries for Dolphins

Coasts of Noto Peninsula, Sea of Japan

Tsushima Islands, Tsushima Strait

Iki Island, Tsushima Strait

Goto Islands, East China Sea

Northern Kyushu and Yamaguchi Prefecture

Sanriku Coasts, North Pacific

Izu Peninsula, North Pacific

Operation Types

Dolphin Species Taken by the Izu Fishery

Catch Statistics and Magnitude of Operation

Taiji, North Pacific

History of the Dolphin Fishery

Catch Statistics

Fishing Season

Trend in the Dockside Price

Nago, Okinawa Island

Miuranishi, Western Shikoku

Small-type Whaling


Operation Pattern

Management of Cetacean Fisheries in Japan

Fishery Acts

Rule for Regulation of Whaling

Rule for Regulation of Mother-ship Fisheries

Rule for Regulation of Steamship Whaling

Rule for Regulation of Small-type Whaling

Rule for Regulation of Specified Offshore Fisheries

Alterations of Whaling Regulations and International Relationship after World War II

Current Regulation of Cetacean Fisheries

Other Laws on Conservation of Cetaceans

Act on Protection of Fishery Resources

Act for Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Cultural Heritage Protection Act

Regulation of Fisheries for Dolphins and Porpoises

Historical Background and Early Government Actions

Actions of the Fisheries Agency

Measures Taken with Regard to Incidental Takes and Strandings

Problems in Management of Incidental Mortality

Catch Quotas for Dolphins and Porpoises

Moving Toward the End of Commercial Whaling

Small-type Whaling

Brief History

Actions related to the Moratorium on Commercial Whaling

Large-type Whaling

Before World War II

After World War II

Pelagic Whaling

Establishment, Expansion and Reduction

Background of Overfishing

Establishment of Nihon Kyodo Hogei

Restructuring of the Whales Research Institute

The Institute of Cetacean Research and Scientific Whaling


Finless Porpoise

Description of the Species

Scientific Name and Type Locality


Worldwide Distribution

Taxonomy and Geographical Variation

Distribution of Finless Porpoises in Japan

Local Populations of Japanese Finless Porpoises

Abundance and Seasonality of Distribution

Seasonal Movements

Problems in Estimating Abundance

Abundance of Japanese Finless Porpoises

Abundance Decline in the Inland Sea Population

Background of the Abundance Decline

History of Protection of Finless Porpoises in Japan

Life History

Parturition Season


Reproductive Cycle

Social Structure


School Size

Dall’s Porpoise



Population Structure

Pigmentation Pattern

Osteology and Body Length

Breeding Areas of Dalli-type Dall’s Porpoises

Accumulation of Pollutants

Parasite Load

DNA and Isozymes

Population Structure: Summary and Future Studies

Life History

Age Determination

Segregation Viewed from Body Length Composition

Neonatal Body Length and Parturition Season

Mating Season and Gestation Period

Geographical Variation in Breeding Season

Reproductive Cycle

Female Sexual Maturity

Male Sexual Maturity

Longevity and Age Composition

Body Length and Growth Curve

Feeding Habits

Food Consumption


Social Structure

School Size

Behavior in Relation to Age and Sex Structure

Abundance and Trends

Populations around Japan (see also Chapter 2)

Offshore Populations

Striped Dolphin


Sea Surface Temperature

Geographical Distribution

Population Structure in the Western North Pacific

Population and Management

Geographical Distribution and Population Structure


Body size


Mercury Level

Fetal Size and Migration Timing

Suggested Population Structure

Life History

Age Determination

Body length at Birth

Body Length Composition

Mean Growth Curve

Male Sexual Maturity

Female Sexual Maturity

Declining Age of Females at Sexual Maturity

Seasonality of Reproduction

Seasonality of Male Reproduction

Female Breeding Cycle and Annual Pregnancy Rate

Female Reproductive cycle and Age

Historical Change in Female Reproductive Cycle

Age Composition, Sex Ratio and Apparent Mortality Rate

School Structure

Food Habits

Effect of Fisheries on the Population

Bottlenose Dolphins

Taxonomy of the Genus Tursiops

Identification of Bottlenose Dolphins around Japan

Distribution of Bottlenose Dolphins around Japan

Life History

Age Determination

Gestation Period, Fetal Growth and Breeding Season

Sex Ratio

Age Composition

Body Length Frequency

Growth Curve

Male Sexual Maturity

Sexual Maturity and Reproductive Cycle of Females

Comparison between the Pacific and the Iki Samples

Life History Parameters

Background of the Change

Short-finned Pilot Whale


Distinction between the Globicephala spp.

Description of Short-finned Pilot Whale

Distribution of Short-fined Pilot Whales

Northern and Southern Forms off Japan

Dawn of Japanese Cetology

Confusion and Reorganization

More about Japanese Pilot Whales

First Encounter with the Northern Form

Distinction between the Two Forms

Adaptive Significance of Body Size

Taxonomy of the Two Forms of Short-finned Pilot Whale

Life History

Viewing Life through Carcasses

Age Determination


Female Reproductive Activity

School Structure

Mixed School

School Size

Males in the School

Copulation Partner and Paternity

Genetic Relatedness among School Members

Summary of School Structure

Post-reproductive Females

Interaction with Human Activities

Catch History

Abundance and Trends

Problems in Management

Baird’s Beaked Whale



Outline of the Distribution

Regional Distribution and Population Structure

Baird’s Beaked Whales along the Pacific Coast of Japan

Food Habits

Stomach Contents

Diving and Feeding

Life History

Tooth structure and Age Determination

Sexual Maturity

Fetal Growth and Gestation Time

Body length and Age

Physical Maturity

Female Reproductive Cycle

Social Structure

Sexual Maturity and Tooth Eruption

School Structure

Sex Ratio

Why Do Males Live Longer?


History of Exploitation

Type of Whaling Operation

Catch Statistics

Manipulated Statistics and Management

Pacific White-sided Dolphin


Populations and Their Distribution

Growth and Sexual Dimorphism of the Dorsal Fin

Materials and Methods

Body Length Composition and Neonatal Length

Body Length and Age

Sexual Maturity

Sexual Dimorphism of the Dorsal Fin


Closing Chapter : Cetacean Conservation and Biologists

The Community I Grew up in

Industry and Conservation

Cetacean Tragedies I have Witnessed

Striped Dolphins of the Pacific Coast of Japan

Sperm Whales in the Western North Pacific

To Avoid Future Tragedies

Unresolved Questions on Cetacean Biology

Factors that Determine Breeding Season

Function of Post-reproductive Females

Social Sex in Cetaceans

Greater Male Longevity in Baird’s Beaked Whales

My View on Cetacean Conservation

Target to Conserve

Element to Conserve

Why Culture

Evidence of Cetacean Culture

Responsibility of Cetacean Scientists

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Veterinary Medicine / General
NATURE / Ecology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Marine Biology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General