Mie University plans to set up a facility to develop viable dolphin-breeding technology in fiscal 2016 in a move that could help aquariums secure stable supplies of the mammal, it was learned Thursday.
It will be the first Japanese university to have such a facility, according to officials at the Mie Prefecture institution.
Since the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums decided in May 2015 to ban the procurement of dolphins caught by drive hunting, it has become difficult for member aquariums to secure dolphins.
Dolphin shows are a major attraction at many aquariums.
The planned facility will aim to develop a feasible technology to breed dolphins by accumulating knowledge on raising dolphins and conducting related research, in cooperation with other facilities in Japan.
Motoi Yoshioka, a professor at the university, said there had been no solid technology enabling stable dolphin breeding, noting that baby dolphins die within a year of birth in many cases.
“We plan to start with bottlenose dolphins,” Yoshioka said, adding, “After a viable technology is established, we hope to apply it to other dolphin species.”