The announcement comes after an investigation by the Animal Welfare Institute and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) brought documents to light that showed contamination in the same shipment. As large mammals who tend to accumulate the toxins in their food, whales are particularly vulnerable to contamination. Marine pollutants are a major threat to whales, though the effects are different for every species and region.
"Japan is right to take action to prevent the import of toxic Norwegian whale meat," Clare Perry, head of EIA's Oceans Campaign, said in a statement. "However, it should also look to its own cetacean hunts, which provide thousands of tons of toxic whale and dolphin products for unsuspecting Japanese consumers, putting them at increased risk of serious diseases, including Parkinson's disease, arteriosclerosis and diabetes."