An annual butchering of dolphins is starting up this week in Taiji, Japan, but local fishermen have had problems hunting the mammals due to bad weather. The slaughters have been secretly filmed by the PBS series, "Journey to Planet Earth" and in the 2009 critically acclaimed documentary film, "The Cove" (videos below).
The fishermen are planning to launch another hunt on Sept. 4, which will include rounding up the dolphins in a small bay, reports the South China Morning Post.
The fishermen then kill hundreds of dolphins in the bay, turning the water to blood red, noted The Guardian in 2014.
"The Cove" documented how the dolphin meat, some of it containing mercury and other chemicals, is sold as different kinds of seafood to Japanese consumers, including children, who are completely unaware of what they're eating. Some of the younger dolphins are kept alive and sold to aquariums.
The local fishermen claim the dolphins are not an endangered species, and they have the support of the Japanese government.
"The Cove" featured Ric O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer on the TV series "Flipper," who has dedicated his life to stopping the dolphin slaughters.
O’Barry was recently taken into custody by Japanese police for allegedly not carrying his passport. The police claimed they released O’Barry on Sept. 2, notes the South China Morning Post.
Japanese fishery officials stated that the annual coastal whaling hunt will begin soon and continue for two months.
Japan has defended its whale and dolphin hunts under permission from the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, but "The Cove" detailed how Japan provides financial assistance to poorer, smaller nations, who in turn vote for Japan's interests at the International Whaling Commission, which was set up by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. The head of the fisheries agency, Masayuki Komatsu, admitted this in 2001, reported The Guardian.