250 dolphins held captive in Japanese cove

Each year the fishermen capture and kill a huge amount of dolphins, putting the population at risk. Photo / Sea Shepherd
Each year the fishermen capture and kill a huge amount of dolphins, putting the population at risk. Photo / Sea Shepherd

Over 250 dolphins are being held captive in a cove on the coast of Japan, waiting for either a life in captivity, or slaughter.

The bottlenose dolphins, including one young and very rare albino dolphin worth millions, will be kept until the brutal selection process of the aquarium industry begins on January 18.

Those that aren't taken to perform in shows will either face death by spear, or a gory corral back into the sea with their community much thinner and a lot weaker.

The cove in Taiji on the south-west coast of Japan was made famous in the Academy Award-winning film The Cove, which documented the entire process from capture, to selection, to aftermath.

Within the captured pod there is a young albino bottlenose dolphin, who is likely to be kidnapped by the aquariums.

The rare albino bottlenose dolphin is worth millions to the marine entertainment industry. Photo / Sea Shepherd
The rare albino bottlenose dolphin is worth millions to the marine entertainment industry. Photo / Sea Shepherd

Albino bottlenose dolphins are extremely rare, and are worth considerable money to marine parks as spectator items and entertainment.

The marine parks in Japan are modelled after the U.S. aquarium industry that make millions of dollars using dolphins for extremely popular aquatic acrobatic shows.


If the dolphins that escape captivity are not killed, they are 'driven' back to the open ocean by 'banger boats' that force them to travel out to sea using long poles attached to the sides of the boat.

These poles are deployed above the water, and then the fishermen hit a flange on the top of the poles with a hammer, creating a cacophony that drives the dolphins back out to sea.

This is the same tactic that the fisherman use to push the dolphins into the cove and capture them.

Those driven back to sea will likely be very young, and will not have the guidance of the elders that have been killed or captured, making them very unlikely to survive.

Because the process is being repeated every year, entire communities of migratory dolphins along the coast of Japan are being destroyed.

The capturing and killing of the dolphins is mostly carried out by the Isana Fishermen's union, who are being fought relentlessly by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians.

- Daily Mail

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