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Iceland and Norway recently began exporting whale meat for sale in Japan. Photo: via BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

Fishermen slaughter a 10m-long bottlenose whale at the Wada port in Minami-Boso city, Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

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10 Responses to “WhaleWatch”

  1. Whale said

    Japan cuts short whale hunt over clash with activists
    Obstruction by a hardline anti-whaling group has forced Japan to cut short its Antarctic whale hunt, the fisheries minister said on Friday, the first time the fleet is heading home early due to clashes with activists.

  2. feww said

    Alaska sues to overturn beluga whale listing

    By DAN JOLING (AP) – 9 hours ago

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska sued Friday to overturn the listing of beluga whales in Cook Inlet, home to the Port of Anchorage, as an endangered species.

    The lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C., claims the federal government overreached and did not follow its own laws two years ago when it placed the white whales on the endangered species list.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in October 2008 announced the listing for Cook Inlet belugas, one of five populations off the shores of Alaska. NOAA fisheries officials said at the time that Cook Inlet belugas were not recovering despite protections already in place.

    The population declined by 50 percent between 1994 and 1998. State officials say the population has stabilized and is showing signs of recovering.

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


  3. feww said

    Whaling Activist Boards Japanese Ship
    Australia sets Japan whaling deadline
    Quit whaling or we take you to court, Australia tells Japan
    Aussie PM gives $58B trade partner nine months
    Activist arrested over boarding Japan whaling ship
    Labour: NZ ‘at odds’ with Australia over whaling

  4. feww said

    Japan dolphin hunters bitter as ‘The Cove’ wins Oscar

    By Kyoko Hasegawa (AFP) [March 8, 2010]

    TAIJI, Japan — Dolphin hunters in a Japanese fishing town on Monday defended their annual cull after “The Cove”, a hard-hitting film about the slaughter, won the Academy Award for best documentary.

    Every year, fishermen in Taiji herd about 2,000 dolphins into a secluded bay, select several dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks and harpoon the rest for meat, a practice long deplored by animal rights activists.

    The team that shot “The Cove” over several years often worked clandestinely and at night to elude local authorities and angry fishermen, setting up disguised cameras underwater and in forested hills around the rocky cove.

    Individual fishermen in Taiji routinely decline to speak to foreign media, but they have the support of many local people in the town of 3,700 who defend hunting dolphins, porpoises and small whales as a centuries-old tradition.

    Town mayor Kazutaka Sangen and the local fisheries cooperative said in identical statements released on Monday: “We feel regret that the film features elements that are false and not based on scientific facts.”

    “Hunting of cetaceans in Taiji is being carried out appropriately under the fisheries laws and with the permission of Wakayama prefecture, and there is nothing illegal about it,” both statements said.

    Many people feel the same way in the southwestern town, which celebrates dolphins and whales with several sculptures and murals and a museum.

    “I feel sorry for the fishermen who hunt dolphins as part of their work,” said petrol station attendant Takehisa Kobata, 47. “To me, the film seems to be pure entertainment and is not seriously describing the lives here.”

    Akio Usagawa, 65, director of the Taiji Community Centre, said that “the reputation of the Academy Awards is in tatters” and fumed that the film portrays local fishermen “like mafia.”

    “They shot angry fishermen, but it’s natural that the fishermen get angry if they are disturbed when they’re doing their job,” he said.

    “The Cove,” directed by National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, shows angry confrontation between residents and activist Ric O’Barry, who in the 1960s trained dolphins for the US hit television show “Flipper.”

    The film also highlights the health threat posed by high levels of mercury found in dolphin meat, which used to be served in local school lunches.

    Local assemblyman Hisato Ryono, who years ago raised the alarm about the health threat to children, was interviewed in the documentary but now opposes “The Cove,” arguing that it emotively distorts the issue.

    “This is an unfair film, using clandestine shooting that the fishermen didn’t want… I’m concerned about the image of the town of Taiji and Japan as a whole in the future after the film won the Academy Award.”

    One of the activists behind “The Cove”, the co-author of the book on the film, Hans Peter Roth, was back in town on Monday.

    “I tried to talk to residents, but couldn’t,” he told AFP, adding that he thought dolphin-watching trips, rather than hunts, could boost tourism.

    “I’m here to find a win-win situation for everybody. That means for the fishermen and for the local economy — and of course for the dolphins.”

    He added: “Not all cultural traditions are good. Speaking about culture, it was at one time a culture or tradition in Switzerland that women did not have the right to vote. And it’s obviously not a good tradition.”

    “Westerners equally treat animals badly,” said Roth, who added that as a journalist in Switzerland he had filmed the slaughter of cows and pigs.

    In Hollywood, Psihoyos denied his movie was an example of “Japan-bashing” and said: “Our hope is the Japanese people will see this film and decide themselves whether animals should be used for meat and for entertainment.”

    O’Barry added: “We like the Japanese people and there’s no Japan bashing from this film. The Japanese people have a right to know.

    “This film will do what the Japanese media failed to do, and that is inform the people so they can make up their own mind about what they want to do. We’re not telling the Japanese people what to do.”

    Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

  5. […] WhaleWatch […]

  6. […] WhaleWatch […]

  7. As a Norwegian native I am appalled that my country still allows whaling. I hope to change this, by telling the government to rethink what they are doing in their slaughter of these beautiful creatures. But I need support in my case, and I hope that you and everyone you know who support this cause, to sign my petition to stop Norwegian whaling. Thank you!

  8. feww said

    Dolphin slaughter in Japan subject of new film
    Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:02am EDT
    By Christine Kearney
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A tense new film shows Japanese fishermen luring thousands of wild dolphins into a hidden secret cove in Japan where activists say they are captured for marine amusement parks or slaughtered for food.

    “The Cove” follows a team of activists including former dolphin trainer from the “Flipper” television series Ric O’Barry.

    They battle Japanese police and fisherman to gain access to a cove in Taiji, Japan, where barbed wire blocks people from filming dolphin killings that begin in September each year.

    The documentary opens in the United States on Friday but has yet to receive distribution in Japan, where O’Barry says 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are legally killed each year.

    The Japanese government said it has done nothing wrong and cites cultural differences in response to the film.

    Dolphin meat is eaten by a very small percentage of Japanese people.

    The film has already been praised by critics and won the audience award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. “Eco-activist documentaries don’t get much more compelling than ‘The Cove’,” said Variety’s review.

    O’Barry, who has been visiting Taiji several times a year for the past eight years and now wears disguises in the town to avoid the attention of fisherman and the police, predicted the film would have a big impact.

    “When the film is seen in Japan, it will shut ‘the cove’ down permanently,” he said in a recent interview.

    The 69-year-old says he began fighting against the captivity of dolphins when one of the dolphins he trained for the hit 1960s television show “Flipper” voluntarily stopped breathing until it died.

    “Ric is a hero,” said the film’s director, Louie Psihoyos, who has photographed for National Geographic magazine. “He had success, he had fame, he had money and he turned his back on all of that to follow his conscience.”


    The film turns into a gripping action-adventure using hi-tech cameras to film the efforts of Psihoyos and a team including underwater sound and camera experts as well as champion free divers to film inside the cove.

    “The film is about leading an ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ kind of team into this secret cove to try to reveal its dark secrets,” said Psihoyos, referring to the popular Hollywood film about a top notch team who break into impossible places. “It was extremely scary.”

    But it largely examines environmental issues, including Japan’s efforts to persuade the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to lift a ban on commercial whaling introduced in 1986. The ban does not apply to smaller cetaceans including dolphins.

    It argues that toxic waste dumped into the ocean has caused higher levels of mercury poisoning found in larger species of ocean life, including dolphins.

    A spokeswoman for the Japanese embassy in Washington, Izumi Yamanaka, said in an e-mail the area surrounding Taiji had traditional dietary habits of eating dolphin meat and that Japan adhered to IWC rules.

    “The Japanese government believes that it is most important to recognize national and cultural differences,” she said.

    She added Japan complied with laws that advise pregnant women against eating seafood, including dolphin meat, with high levels of mercury, and would investigate assertions in the film that dolphin meat is sold in Japan disguised as whale meat.

    Dolphin hunts are largely driven by a multibillion dollar marine amusement park industry located in the United States and around the world, who pay up to $150,000 per dolphin, according to O’Barry.

    “People who see this movie are going to think twice before they buy a ticket to a dolphin show,” he said.

    Ultimately the film is part of a larger story of the destruction of the oceans and planet, the filmmakers said.

    “‘The cove’ is a microcosm for the poisoning of the oceans,” said Psihoyos. “A hundred years from now they are going to say this is the generation that could have turned things around.” (Editing by Sandra Maler)
    © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

  9. Fire Earth said

    […] WhaleWatch […]

  10. […] WhaleWatch […]

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