In Taiji, Japan – the town made infamous by the “The Cove” documentary – dolphin hunting is still continuing. Neither anti-dolphin-hunt activists nor the townspeople of Taiji expect much to change, despite the success of the award winning documentary.
Life seems to go on as usual in the town of Taiji in western Japan – a town made famous by this year's Academy Award winning documentary "The Cove".
Despite the quiet of the small cove where the documentary showed Japanese fishermen herding and killing the dolphins, the townspeople have not stopped their hunting since the beginning of the dolphin hunt season in September.
What has changed however is the regular visit from anti-dolphin activists, who monitor and record their activities.
The most famous of them is Sea Shepherd, a conservancy organization known in Japan for their aggressive anti-whaling tactics against Japanese whalers.
West was part of an unusual meeting on Tuesday in the town community center that pitted anti-dolphin activists against local fishermen unions. Activists are skeptical anything will change in the town that prides itself on its whaling and dolphin hunting traditions.
Japan has long maintained that killing dolphins is not banned under any international treaty, and the creatures are not endangered. They say dolphins need to be culled to protect their fishing grounds.
Some activists, including those behind the documentary, are seeking to ban dolphin hunts for health reasons, claiming dolphin meat that ends up in the kitchens of the townspeople is contaminated by excessive mercury levels. But that argument has not convinced the people of Taiji.
Taiji captures around 2,000 dolphins a year, slaughtering the majority for its meat which is sold to the locals. Some dolphins are spared and sold off to aquariums in Japan and around the world.