Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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

On September 1, 2015, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society launched Operation Henkaku in Taiji, Japan. Please visit our Operation Henkaku page for the latest news and information about our dolphin defense campaign.

Operation Henkaku
Visit our
Operation Henkaku
site for more information.


Sea Shepherd and Taiji.

sscs-history-wide-on-slaughter-2-400wIn 2003, Sea Shepherd became actively involved in opposing the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan.

On October 6, 2003, after hiding out for several weeks in the cliffs overlooking the bay, crewmembers of Sea Shepherd's Taiji Dolphin Campaign covertly filmed and photographed the dolphin hunters killing dolphins in the cove. The shocking images revealing the blood-red waters of Taiji’s killing cove sparked international outcry.

On November 18, 2003, two crewmembers, Allison Lance Watson and Alex Cornelissen, dove into the bay and swam out to free 15 dolphins penned in and to be killed the following morning. They were immediately arrested upon returning to shore. In order to help secure the release of Alex and Allison, Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson wrote a letter to the Japanese police in which he stated that Sea Shepherd would not send anyone into Japan with the intention of breaking the law.

For the past several years, protestors and reporters have gone to Taiji on September 1st to document the beginning of the six-month seasonal hunt. In the fall of 2010, Captain Watson asked the question “What would happen if we never left Taiji?” He asked Sea Shepherd Director of Intelligence Scott West and his daughter Elora Malama West to “go find out.” The two travelled to Taiji and were joined by several volunteers.

In 2010, the annual dolphin death toll was halved due to the ongoing presence of Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians, who shocked the dolphin hunters with their cameras. For the first time, the entire dolphin hunt season was documented and recorded – the hunt was now exposed to the world.

Operation Infinite Patience

The 2011 dolphin hunt season sparked the beginning of the official Operation Infinite Patience, with Sea Shepherd volunteer Rosie Kunneke leading the effort on the ground.

Each year since, dedicated campaign leader Melissa Sehgal has led the on-ground Cove Guardian campaign with a growing multinational team volunteers. Sea Shepherd continues to abide by Japanese law while continuing to expose the daily atrocities that occur in Taiji.