zondag, 09 januari 2011 10:09

Report from Taiji: January 9

Pollution and dolphin killing: bangers drive a pod of Pacific White Sided dolphinsPollution and dolphin killing: bangers drive a pod of Pacific White Sided dolphinsBeing a Cove Guardian isn’t easy. When you combine the physical strain of getting out of bed very early each day and standing around for hours in the cold with the mental anguish of seeing horrid acts of inhumanity, it is a burden that not many can bear. When you then throw into the mix shear and utter confusion, your mind is not sure how to react. Today was one of those days where we were thoroughly confused and frustrated by the acts of the dolphin hunters.

The harbor parking lot is our first stop every morning after determining if the banger boats are out or not. As we grouped and discussed where to set up camp for the day, two banger boats raced backed into harbour and pulled up right next to us. Several dolphin hunters jumped off the boat and proceeded to run about collecting nets. One of the bangers tied up to the barge and brought it over to the sea wall where we were standing and the fishermen loaded it with an unusually large amount of orange netting.

After we took all the pictures we needed, the Cove Guardians split into groups and spread out throughout the town of Taiji. Nicole and I headed to the Mountain Pass where we could have a clear view of the world below. A few miles offshore, the bangers were driving a pod larger than any of us had ever seen before. At nearly three quarters of a mile long, this pod of Pacific White Sided dolphins was literally running for their lives. As they neared the harbor, a large portion of the pod broke off and safely made it back to sea; the others weren’t so lucky.

Hunters pull a dolphin over the side of a skiffHunters pull a dolphin over the side of a skiffToday was confusing because the dolphin hunters decided to net off these few dolphins right near the mouth of the harbor, instead of driving them into the Cove. This is something that these men have never done before and it was apparent that it was unusual due to the fact that locals were gathering to watch. Either stage fright or lack of experience netting dolphins in open water caused the fishermen to fumble about and stand around in their skiffs for quite some time. Finally, nine divers were put in the water to wrangle dolphins and seven lives were forever lost to the entertainment industry. Seven beings were coldheartedly torn from their mothers, their fathers, their children and their siblings, never to experience familiar faces or voices again. If this happened to you, imagine the feelings of loneliness, fear and depression; this is what I believe a dolphin feels.

A perfect example of depression in captivity is Misty the Dolphin, who continues to reside at Dolphin Base, floating at the surface of his tiny, chlorine-filled pool. Let’s not forget about Misty, the other dolphins at Dolphin Base, and the numerous captives around the world.

Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.

Dolphin Base: From the United States, dial 81-0735-59-3514 or send email to

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 increasing number of 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

A banger boats drops dolphins hunters off at the harbour parking lotA banger boats drops dolphins hunters off at the harbour parking lot The gutting barge is loaded with netsThe gutting barge is loaded with nets


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


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