Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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

February 15, 2011

Report from Taiji: February 15

A mother and juvenile are transported in a skiff to the harbor pensA mother and juvenile are transported in a skiff to the harbor pensConfusion runs rampant in Taiji and from one day to the next, the Cove Guardians are never sure of what they will see. Today was perhaps the most confusing and the most frustrating day we’ve had for quite some time. While there was no slaughter today, the dolphin killers of Taiji decided to try their hand at being sneaky. It didn’t work so well for them.

We left the hotel at our usual time and were surprised to see that all twelve banger boats were still in the harbor. Today was a gorgeous sunny day but the wind was creating white caps on the water’s surface, which turns dolphin hunting into a game of phantom chasing for the fishermen. We decided to head to the Cove to soak up some much-needed vitamin D, search for sea glass, and take a group photo. After about an hour, as we were preparing to leave, four banger boats sped past the mouth of the Cove and after a hasty drive through the harbor we discovered that the boats had indeed gone out to sea and several of the fishermen were preparing the gutting barge with nets for an off shore capture. As I watched in disbelief, I had several questions running through my head: did they wait for us to drive by in the morning and then head out once they assumed we had left Taiji? Did another fishing vessel call into the Fisherman’s Union and inform the dolphin killers of a pod off shore? Was this the first time they’ve attempted to trick us or had they succeeded before?

Private Space (in the white boots) and a trainer from Dolphin Base inspect their new merchandise while dolphin hunters look on from skiffsPrivate Space (in the white boots) and a trainer from Dolphin Base inspect their new merchandise while dolphin hunters look on from skiffsIn all, four Pacific White-sided Dolphins were torn from their family pod this morning, including a mother and a small juvenile. During this year’s season, the Cove Guardians have counted 161 dolphins being taken into captivity with 755 being slaughtered. And while these numbers can in no way be exact, they are as accurate as it gets due to a daily presence on the ground in Taiji by the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians and the official Sea Shepherd representative.

Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.

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

Two Taiji dolphin killers help load nets onto the gutting barge for an offshore captureTwo Taiji dolphin killers help load nets onto the gutting barge for an offshore capture A diver gets in the water with the newly captured dolphinsA diver gets in the water with the newly
captured dolphins

Cove Guardians Georgia, Rob, Nicole, Libby, & Greg at the CoveCove Guardians Georgia, Rob, Nicole, Libby, & Greg at
the Cove

Nicole, who will be assisting me during my time in Taiji, will share her experiences on her blog.