H-2101.1  _______________________________________________


                     HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4016



State of Washington      55th Legislature     1997 Regular Session


By Representatives Morris, Blalock, Gombosky, Cody, Veloria, Kessler, Keiser, Costa and Anderson


Read first time 02/24/97.  Referred to Committee on Natural Resources.

Encouraging Japan to release the five orca whales captured off the southeast coast of Japan.


    We, Your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:

    WHEREAS, Ten Orcinus orca whales, more commonly known as orca or killer whales, were captured by fishermen February 7, 1997, in Hatajim Wan Bay at Taiji on Japan's southeast coast, of which five remain in captivity; and

    WHEREAS, The remaining whales are likely to be sold for the purpose of putting them on public display; and

    WHEREAS, Orca whales in captivity live shorter life spans than orca whales left in the wild; and

    WHEREAS, Orca whales maintain family ties for life which are torn apart by capture; and

    WHEREAS, Orca whales have a system of dialects for communication, unusual to mammals other than humans; and

    WHEREAS, Orca whale captures in Washington State waters in the 1960's and 1970's captured one-third of the area's orca population and has taken twenty years to replenish; and

    WHEREAS, Keiko, the orca whale star of the movie "Free Willy" has brought international attention to the issue of whale capture and demonstrates strong public sentiment for returning such creatures to their natural environment;

    NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that the government of Japan take steps to release the Taiji whales from captivity and return them to the ocean.

    BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to His Excellency Kunihiko Saito, Ambassador of Japan to the United States.


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