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December 27, 2010

Report from Taiji: December 27

A depressed Risso's dolphin floats at the Whale MuseumA depressed Risso's dolphin floats at the
Whale Museum
Seven must be a lucky number for today was the seventh consecutive day that the dolphin fishermen did not go out to hunt. Again the conditions for hunting were perfect, with calm seas and clear visibility. The dolphin hunters must be high up on the totem pole at the Fisheries Association because the tuna fishermen have been out hunting every single day, including Christmas. Their catch does not only include tuna, it also includes sunfish, sharks, and other species of fish hideously displayed on their concrete floor of death.

The other night we ran into a group of teenage girls that were so excited to see us and were speaking what little English they knew to us. It’s amazing how universal people truly are and how it is possible to carry on a conversation despite the language barrier even when you’re living in a country where you understand next to nothing. Humans are humans and despite the differences in culture, language, etc., deep down we are all the same.

I still continue to be amazed by the overwhelming support for the work we’re doing here in Taiji and for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in general. The world over is passionate about what we stand for and they encourage and support us via kind e-mails, supplies regularly shipped to us, donations, and merchandise purchases on the Sea Shepherd website.

A banger boat in the Taiji harbor at sunriseA banger boat in the Taiji harbor at sunriseWhat also amazes me is the criticism and negativity from people that simply want to hate something, so they grasp at straws and cling to anything they can find. What we witness here is beyond explanation; simply put we see things that most people will never experience. Each and every one of us came to Taiji knowing full well that we would see dolphins die. I can’t tell you how many people back home said to me that they simply would not be able to handle watching that happen. Yet here we are, watching it happen because all of us Cove Guardians are passionate enough about saving these dolphins that we are willing to bear witness to horrible acts of humanity. There are no words for what this does to our mental state and we have to consciously be aware of controlling our anger, our frustration, our pain, and our sadness but we do it because we care. And we are here because we care. We put our lives on hold, we spent our own money to travel to Japan, and we are risking our mental health by witnessing mass genocide on a near daily basis. And still there are those few people out there that tear apart every move we make because they have nothing better to do. In the words of dolphin activist Ric O’Barry, “You are either an activist or an inactivist. I choose to be an activist.”

Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian.  To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at coveguardian@seashepherd.org.  We will get back to you, but please be patient.  We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time.  Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome.  These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative.  We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.

Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them.  Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war.  This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves.  Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change.  Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it.  Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it.  Make good consumer choices.  Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade.  All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.

For the dolphins,

Libby Katsinis

The Katsuura fish marketThe Katsuura fish market Bodies are desecrated at the fish marketBodies are desecrated at the fish market

 

Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.
Rupert Imhoff
, who is also assisting with this campaign, has started a YouTube channel of video taken during his time in Taiji.


 
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