Taiji dolphin hunt begins: about 100 dolphins and 50 pilot whales driven into cove
Nikkan Sports reports that weather conditions have improved in Taiji and the town’s fishermen have finally begun their dolphin hunt.
Thirteen fishing boats left Taiji’s harbor this morning around 5:30AM. They located a large group of dolphins and pilot whales, which they promptly surrounded and drove them into a cove. The captured group consists of about 50 pilot whales and 100 bottlenose dolphins. The International Whaling Commission’s ban on whaling does not include bottlenose dolphins or pilot whales. Neither species is classified as endangered.
During this hunting season, Taiji’s fisherman plan to catch about 2400 dolphins.
Update: The Sankei is reporting that 10 dolphins will be captured and sold to aquariums, and that the rest will apparently be returned to the sea. The pilot whales will be sold (for meat?).
Update 2: Mainichi and the Japan Times report that 40 to 50 of the 100 dolphins will be captured to be sold to aquariums, while the rest will be freed. The move is in response to international criticism of the dolphin hunt, but it is not clear whether or not this is something that will last the whole hunting season. The fishermen will slaughter the pilot whales, something that will no doubt anger some activists. The Japan Times reports that this year there will be a cull of “240 dolphins and whales,” which I can only assume is a translation error. Mainichi has the figure at 2317, close to the “about 2400″ reported by the Sankei. Last year, the fishermen caught 1484 dolphins and whales. [Hat tip to the Overthinker]
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