Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Despite the fact that the dolphin drive hunt had pretty much ended by the time I arrived in Taiji, so much has happened that it has been difficult to keep this blog up to date. There hasn't been a single drive since I touched down, but the danger to dolphins doesn't end just because the season does.

Dolphin and whale hunting via harpoon is permitted year round, so even as the sight of boats without banger poles lifted our spirits, we knew it would not last long, as the poles could soon be replaced with harpoons. Additionally, these are just regular fishing boats, so while cetaceans are now safer than they've been for the past few months, all other species of marine life are still at risk.

 Banger poles come down
Fishing poles go up

Here are some photos of Taiji's conversion from secret abbatoir to regular fishing town:
Disassembling the apparatus
A dead fish, who will be sold later, left out in the sun
 All this can go now that they don't need to hide their shame for the next six months.
Clean and ready for next season
Though the drive hunt is over, all the captive dolphins it brought in are still here. And there are more than ever. Several new pens have been built at both the harbor and Dolphin Base and they're all at capacity, including one full of beluga whales from Russia.

Note: This post was originally composed on March 3, 2013, but publishing was delayed. I'm currently back in NYC.

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