Dolphin killing town in The Cove to open a marine park - and continue annual slaughter

Taiji will continue to hunt small whales and dolphins despite project

A Japanese town that became synonymous with the killing of dolphins after it was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary on the controversial practice is to open a marine park that will allow visitors to swim with the animals.

The town of Taiji, in the Higashimuro District, continues to hunt for small whales and dolphins after commercial whaling was suspended in 1988.

The town was the subject of the 2009 documentary The Cove, which examined Japan’s infamous dolphin hunting culture and the controversial dolphin hunt that takes place in the town between September and April annually. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary the following year.

Organisers in Taiji have now begun preparing proposals that would see a part of the cove sectioned off to create a marine park, offering visitors the opportunity to swim alongside dolphins and whales, Masaki Wada, a local government official told AFP.

Once built, the marine park would span 69 acres and could be open within the next five years under current proposals. It would be located within close proximity of Hatakejiri Bay, where Taiji fishermen regularly corral dolphins into nets before slaughtering them.

Black whales and bottlenose dolphins captured in nearby waters would be released into a pool that would eventually be developed into a nature park for tourists.

“We already use dolphins and small whales as a source of tourism in the cove where dolphin-hunting takes place,” Wada said. 

“In summer, swimmers can enjoy watching the mammals that are released from a partitioned-off space.

“But we plan to do it on a larger scale. This is part of Taiji’s long-term plan of making the whole town a park, where you can enjoy watching marine mammals while tasting various marine products, including whale and dolphin meat.”

A cove in Taiji where there are plans to open a marine park (Getty) A cove in Taiji where there are plans to open a marine park (Getty)  

Tokyo-based conservationist group Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network (IKAN) described the plan as “unfortunate” and warned it could ignite a series of protests.

“The whole plan is based on the concept that they can exploit dolphins and whales freely as their resource, but the mammals don’t belong to Taiji,” said Nanami Kurasawa, the IKAN secretary general.

“Marine mammals migrate across oceans, and international public opinion is that wildlife should be allowed to live as they are. The plan will only ignite more protests over dolphin-hunting,” she said.

A spokesperson for animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said:

"Turning Taiji into a tourist destination where unsuspecting visitors swim with dolphins in the same waters that have turned red from the animals' massacred families sounds like something out of a horror film.

"These magnificent animals suffer immeasurably in captivity since it is impossible to meet their psychological and physiological needs. When dolphins are kept captive, even the largest pen or tank is a hideous prison. Buying a ticket to a marine park or swimming with captive dolphins condemns these beautiful animals to a lifetime of misery and deprivation."

Taiji was made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary 'The Cove' Taiji was made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary 'The Cove'  

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£22000 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary English Teacher...

Content Manager - Central London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

General Cover Teacher - Grimsby

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Qualified Teachers needed for Supply in t...

English Teacher Urgently Required - Secure Unit - Nottingham

£100 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Are you a fully qualified ...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on