Sea Shepherd's Scott West Reports from Taiji
by Scott West
We arrived in Taiji this afternoon and met Matt Smith from Chicago. Matt answered Captain Paul Watson’s call for folks to come to Taiji and stand vigil here so the world can learn the truth of the annual horror here. Matt has been here, alone, for several days. We learned from Matt that two dolphins remain in the holding pens in town apparently awaiting shipment to some park for ignorant amusement. We also learned that the boats were out hunting today and drove approximately 80 dolphins into the public side of the cove. The hunters spread nets to lock them into the cove and spread another net that could allow them to drive the captured dolphins into the killing cove.
The dolphins remain locked in this area, huffing, slapping tails, and constantly circling; they do so in the center of the netted area and are clearly frightened and confused. We checked on them after nightfall and found them to be guarded by a number of fishermen and hired security guards. We also discovered that the pens in the harbor holding the dolphins for captivity are guarded as well.
We will return at dawn to record what happens next. The fishermen say they will not kill any tomorrow, but only select some for captivity and free the remaining dolphins. According to reports, we understand their intent is to continue this practice through September and then resume killing the remaining dolphins in October. Their idea is that the world’s attention will have moved on by then. However, our attention will not have moved on. We will be here for as long as it takes to keep the spotlight on this atrocity.
The fishermen say that we do not understand them, and ask how we dare, as foreigners, to come to their home and press our values upon them. What they fail to see is that we are the same. We are all earthlings, and as such have a responsibility to this planet and the other life forms on it. The oceans are dying, and the captivity and slaughter of these dolphins hastens that death. Once the oceans are dead, we too are dead—all of us.
There were some Japanese right wing nationalists on site today hassling Matt. They were parading around with their bullhorns and loud speakers mounted on cars accusing Matt of dropping the atomic bombs of World War 2. No one was listening. They also threatened Matt by telling him that a large group of their comrades were coming to Taiji on the morrow and that if he were smart, he would be gone. They said, “There is just one of you and many of us.” Well that has changed. There are now three. In time there may be more as folks heed the call to come and shine light on this dark and bloody secret.
There were also a number of Japanese at the park overlooking the cove this day. Most were sympathetic to the fishermen. There was a couple though that stood in disbelief at what they were seeing. They told Matt that they had just recently heard of Taiji’s secret and came to see for themselves. They would never have believed it had they not seen it. The woman cried openly and unashamedly. “This is not the way it should be”, she said. “This is not my culture.”