The mercury poisoning was mentioned in an MSNBC article on May 9, 2010.
However, according to an article on the SaveJapanDolphins website, the dolphins were contaminated in 2002 and 2003. A report on the testing results in PDF format can be downloaded here.
In 2000, a team of scientists from the University of Hokkaido began sampling different dolphin meats and documenting their mercury content. These samplings continued for two years before the results of tests were published in 2003 in Environmental Science and Technology magazine. While the Japanese dolphin has been recognized as typically having a high mercury content since 2003, high levels of mercury in these maritime creatures existed long before testing began in 2000.
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