News Bulletin: Taiji Fishing Boats Head Out To Sea On "Dolphin Roundup"
Sea Shepherd crewmember Allison Lance-Watson in a telephone call to Capt Paul Watson, President and Founder of the Society (Friday Harbor, WA) reported the Taiji "dolphin roundup" herding boats headed out early this morning in their 2nd attempt at a "roundup and kill" of dolphins. Fishermen had been held up in the bay for the past 2 weeks as Sea Shepherd crew continued their vigilante "24 hour" dolphin watch of the harbor. Released footage of the kill in early October has raised international outrage and concern for the safety of Sea Shepherd crewmembers as threats of violence and death continue from the Taiji fishermen.
Tensions were building in the small, coastal village as the hunters worked to find new ways of netting and killing the dolphins while avoiding Sea Shepherd crew and cameras. Yesterday morning, as crewmember Brooke McDonald took her harbor watch shift at 6: am, she encountered twenty or more fishermen on the seawall in front of the moorage for six of the thirteen herding boats. As she approached them with her camera, they shouted and made aggressive gestures. One man made kicking and punching motions in front of her. She continued past them and summoned other Sea Shepherd crewmembers Hensey and Lance-Watson to return to the site. The threats and aggression continued, but eventually the fishermen gave in and left for the day without obtaining their catch.
The same morning, the Shingu Police visited Sea Shepherd in Taiji and spoke with crewmembers Lance-Watson and Nicholas Hensey. Two officers and a translator from Wakayama came by to "offer caution" to the crew and communicate a recent change to Taiji law. The cliffs overlooking the town's dolphin slaughtering bay have been determined dangerous and marked "no trespassing". According to the officers, it is now illegal to scale the rocky embankments containing the bay.
This act is an attempt to block activists and journalists from documenting the hunt. The most recent footage of a dolphin slaughter was captured from the cliffs above the bay.
The police expressed their concern that there might be further violence if the crew stays in Japan. Hensey reminded them that Sea Shepherd has not threatened nor attacked the fishermen despite having their lives and equipment endangered multiple times and that any concerns should be expressed to the dolphin hunters of Taiji.
Lance-Watson and Hensey took their opportunity during the police visit to report a vehicle and two individuals who have been shadowing the crew for days. The police dismissed their concerns and would not take the license number of the car in question.
The police had no news about charges against the fishermen and, as far as Sea Shepherd has been informed, the investigation into attempted murder, assault and death threats against them has been abandoned. You can voice your opposition to the "dolphin roundup" by contacting the following Japanese representatives:
To see pictures and video of the hunt documented by the Sea Shepherd crew in Japan, please go to (click) http://www.seashepherd.org/taiji/.
You can voice your opposition to the "dolphin roundup" by contacting the following Japanese representatives:
Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Junichiro Koizumi
6-1 Nagata-cho 1 Chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Minister of Fisheries
Mr. Yoshiyuki Kamei
2-1 Ksumigaseki 1 Chrome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan