Taiji cove has again become a hunting ground for marine mammals as Japan’s annual hunt began all over again, despite continued international outrage. Japan encompasses a long history of whaling, and Taiji Cove residents are perfecting their techniques since the 1600s. The season, or Drive Hunt, began on Sept. 1 and can continue until the month of February for dolphins and therefore the end of April for whales.
Each year, a pick group of fishermen captures many marine mammals, most prominently bottlenose and striped dolphins. they are doing so by first locating a pod and banging metal pipes in strategic places to disrupt the dolphins’ sonar and navigation skills, allowing the fishermen to push the chosen pod into Taiji Cove. The dolphins are then closed off by fishermen’s nets, preventing their escape. Captured animals are either sold or killed.
The Japanese government now only allows dolphins to be killed by stabbing a metal pin into the dolphin’s neck. in line with the Guardian, “The fishermen push a pointy metal spike into the dolphins’ necks just behind the blowholes, which is meant to sever the funiculus and produce a second ‘humane’ death. The fishermen then push dowel-like wooden corks into the injuries to stop their blood from spilling into the cove.” in line with Senzo Uchida, the manager secretary of the Japan Cetacean Conference on Zoological Gardens and Aquariums, this method kills the dolphins in seconds, but a 2011 veterinarian analysis of video footage of dolphins being killed this manner concluded that in some cases death can take over four minutes.
Murdered dolphins are disassembled and have their meat and blubber sold. Those kept alive are sold to resorts and marine parks round the world as “rescued” animals, making these places seem more humane and with better marketing. Taiji’s fishermen can sell these mammals to brokers for about 8,000 dollars apiece. a totally trained dolphin will be sold for over 40,000 dollars overseas or about 20,000 dollars in Japan. In 2015, the globe Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) banned any transfer of dolphins that came from Taiji, Japan, but these marine animals are still easily sold to corporations and “swimming with dolphins” resorts that don't belong to WAZA.
In the 2015-16 Drive Hunt, there was a 426 bottle-nosed dolphin quota, but the fishermen were only able to capture 104 and kill 66. For the striped dolphin, the quota was 450, but they ended up killing all 290 dolphins that they captured. However, these numbers only show the amount of animals killed by driving them into Taiji Cove and don't account for dolphins and other species that were killed using other methods.
In 2007, Japan claimed that they killed 1,239 animals in total. the world Island Institute, Surfers for Cetaceans, and Dolphins Project Inc. contests the amount supplied by the japanese, stating that the amount of porpoises and dolphins killed each year is drastically beyond what Japan has claimed: probably around 25,000 total animal deaths every year.
In 2009, billionaire James H. Clark funded research and therefore the production of a motion picture titled The Cove, including five years of secretly filmed footage showing disputed killing techniques. The film also detailed the breaking of ranks by local fishermen who began to talk out about the key health risks of dolphin meat and blubber thanks to high mercury levels. The documentary won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2010. Japanese native Keiko Yagi created the film Behind the Cove in 2015 as a rebuttal to Clark’s film. Yagi shows the fisherman’s point of view, taking a stance that individuals must respect other countries’ food culture because dolphin and porpoise meat has been traditional Japanese cuisine for hundreds of years.
Despite the work of countless activist groups, the 2019-20 season recently began with a very high quota, allowing The twenty-six fisherman with government permits to kill over 1,4000 dolphins and 300 whales this season alone, not including others which will be killed using other methods, without a permit, or in other countries.