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Dolphin meat seized from ship near Rome

Banned mammal fillets found in port of Civitavecchia

24 January, 17:53
Dolphin meat seized from ship near Rome (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, January 24 - Authorities at the port of Civitavecchia seized a shipment of dolphin meat on Friday, the same day that the Italian ambassador in Tokyo urged the Japanese government to consider ending their traditional dolphin hunt.

The dolphin meat, including dried fillets that were vacuum-packed for transport, raised concerns with Italy's Environment Minister Andrea Orlando.

He called for special audits are to trace the origins of the meat, "to identify the whole chain of this illegal and sleazy trade in meat of animals that are strictly protected". The import and sale of dolphin meat is illegal in the European Union, including Italy.

Italian Ambassador Domenico Giorgi earlier asked the Japanese minister of agriculture and fisheries to reconsider the hunt in the area of Taiji, which local fishers say is part of their traditional culture.

Other nations including the United States have also raised concerns about the Taiji event, part of an annual hunt season that runs from September through March.

Elements were depicted in the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, which showed fishermen herding dolphins into a cove, where they were trapped by fishing nets.