Japanese fishermen have finished killing some of the 250 dolphins trapped recently in what environmental activists claim was the biggest roundup they have witnessed in the last four years.
Sea Shepherd, best known for its anti-whaling activities, said the fishermen first selected 52 dolphins to keep alive for sale to aquariums and other customers. They included a rare albino calf and its mother.
Of the rest, about 40 were killed, one became stuck in a net and drowned, and the others were released, it said.
A video released on Tuesday by Sea Shepherd shows dozens of fishermen on boats surveying the dolphins after they were confined to a cove with nets. Divers can be seen holding the dolphins selected for sale and guiding them to nets hanging off the boats.
While other dolphins have been killed since the hunting season began in September, Sea Shepherd said the 250 herded into the cove last Friday represented the largest group it has seen since it began monitoring the hunt.
The annual hunt in the village of Taiji received high-profile criticism when the US ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, tweeted last weekend that she was deeply concerned about the practice.
The fishermen say the hunt is among their customs and brand foreign critics who eat other kinds of meat as hypocrits.
Tokyo defended the annual dolphin hunt on Monday, saying it is carried out in accordance with the law.
The hunt was the subject of the Academy Award-winning 2009 film The Cove.
Source: The Guardian
Caroline Kennedy ‘Deeply Concerned’ By Japanese Dolphin Hunt
TOKYO, Jan 20 (Reuters) – In an unusual move, U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has expressed deep concern over the traditional dolphin hunt in western Japan, where local fisherman corral dolphins in a secluded bay before killing many for meat.
The annual dolphin hunt currently underway in Taiji in western Japan has long been a source of controversy and was the topic of “The Cove,” an Oscar-winning documentary.
“(I am) deeply concerned by inhumanness of drive hunt dolphin killing,” Kennedy tweeted at the weekend, adding that the U.S. government opposes drive hunt fishing.
Every year the fishermen of Taiji – a small fishing town in Japan’s Wakayama prefecture – drive hundreds of dolphins into a cove, select some for sale to marine parks, release some back into the sea and kill the rest for meat.
Sea Shepherd, one of several animal protection groups that monitor fishermen in Taiji, said on Monday that more than 200 dolphins have been rounded up into the secluded bay by the shore off Taiji.
The organization is streaming live footage of Taiji’s cove, showing fishermen on several fishing boats rounding up the dolphins inside the bay. The dolphins are cordoned off by large fishing nets.
Taiji shot to global infamy after the 2009 release of “The Cove,” which was directed by former National Geographic photographer Louis Psihoyos. The film followed eco-activists who struggle with Japanese police and fishermen to gain access to the location of the hunt.
The movie met with fierce opposition in Japan from groups saying it was “anti-Japanese” and an affront to traditional culture.
Japan has long maintained that killing dolphins is not banned under any international treaty and that the animals are not endangered, adding that dolphins need to be culled to protect fishing grounds.
Source: Huff Post
Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras
Gustavo López Ospina
Pieter Jan Brouwer
Assistant: Emilia Romero
SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer.