Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd's Dolphin Defense Campaign in Taiji, Japan Donate Now

January 6, 2011

Report from Taiji: January 6

Dolphin fishermen work on repairing the tarp that conceals their shameful activities in the killing cove at the Fisherman’s UnionDolphin fishermen work on repairing the tarp that conceals their shameful activities in the killing cove at the Fishermans' UnionAlthough the banger boats stayed in the harbor today, the dolphin fishermen were back to work after a 16-day holiday hiatus. They all gathered at the Fisherman’s Union this morning to spread out one of the big tarps from the killing cove in the parking lot. After patching it up, they rolled it up into the bottom of a skiff and took it back to the killing cove. We watched them attach it to the cable tracks that hold the tarps over the Cove, blocking out nearly everything from behind its sight.

When they had completed this task, the hunters headed out to the harbor pens where the untrained captive dolphins are held, and loaded six dolphins onto three skiffs and transferred them to Dolphin Base. Yesterday, Dolphin Base staff members busied themselves by building another pen, bringing the number of pens and tanks at the facility up to 11, not counting Misty’s former dirty, kiddy pool. With the addition of six more dolphins transferred today, Dolphin Base now houses nearly 60 captive dolphins!

We spoke to the police and the coast guard today, and I would like to note how friendly and polite these men are. It’s always a pleasure to see them; we are always cordial and exchange smiles and bows. Our Japanese-speaking Cove Guardian joined in the conversation and was able to translate to the police, who speak very little English, how much we appreciate their presence and hard work, for I know that these past few months have been a strain on them, as well as us.

Nearly 60 dolphins have been torn away from their families and environment and condemned to a lifetime of slave labor simply for the entertainment and wealth of enabling humans. How can anyone think that there is nothing wrong with this scenario? Why is it that people feel they have ultimate control over every other being on this planet? In our minds we feel that we are the superior species, but are we really? I don’t base superiority on things such as polluting the earth, wiping the oceans clear of valuable organisms, slaughtering innocent beings, and holding others against their will. If humans treated other humans the way these fisherman are treating these dolphins, it would be a punishable crime. So why is it not a considered a crime when these acts are committed against a sentient species like the dolphin?

Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.

Dolphin Base: call from United States: 81-0735-59-3514 or e-mail:

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  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

Fishermen and trainers work at the harbor pensFishermen and trainers work at the harbor pens A skiff with two dolphins leaves the harbor pens heading for Dolphin BaseA skiff with two dolphins leaves the harbor pens heading for Dolphin Base
A fisherman hides his face from the cameraA fisherman hides his face from the camera A trainer and a fishermen get splashed as a dolphin thrashes while being transfered to a penA trainer and a fisherman get splashed as a dolphin thrashes while being transfered to a pen

Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.