Divers from the European conservation group The Black Fish this week cut the nets of six sea holding pens in Taiji, Japan, freeing dolphins that were caught during an earlier drive hunt. During this hunt dolphins were selected for the international dolphinarium trade and transferred to the holding pens. Black Fish divers swam out to the pens and cut the nets, allowing many of the dolphins to swim to their freedom.
Each year, between September and April, the sea around the fishing village of Taiji turns red as it becomes the scene of one of the biggest mass slaughters of sea life worldwide. As brought to public attention in Ric O'Barry's Oscar winning documentary '"The Cove", the dolphin drive is responsible for capturing and killing over 2,000 dolphins. Fishermen drive the dolphins into the infamous cove using boats—some of the captures are sent off to dolphinariums while others are slaughtered for their meat.
The Black Fish and other organizations run ongoing campaigns to close the remaining dolphinariums in Europe where some of the dolphins caught at Taiji inevitably end up. The Black Fish believes that given the vast amount of space marine wildlife normally inhabit, the stress of public performances, and the often miserable and squalid conditions in which they are forced to live, it is unacceptable to keep them in captivity.
"The connection between the dolphin entertainment trade and the annual drive hunt can no longer be denied," said Wietze van der Werf, co-founder of The Black Fish. "To be successful in our campaigns in Europe we need to get to the root of this evil trade, which is right at Taiji."
The Black Fish has vowed to continue to work for the protection of the dolphins, and to make dolphinariums and the drive hunts which supply them history.
For more information on The Black Fish, please visit www.theblackfish.org. For more information on the documentary 'The Cove' please visit www.thecovemovie.com.
Photo credit: The Cove