Sunday, September 25, 2011

Captivity and Shark Fins

Days in Taiji

Day 2: Captivity and Shark Fins

These have been the two most exhausting days of my life thus far, and it is only just past mid-day. Though a great cause for celebration as the banger boats and the harpoon ship came back unsuccessful the first day and today the water was too choppy to set sail we still stood by to see the captive dolphins captured recently and a year ago.

Up at four again, spotted a female Silka deer on the way, and watched the boats in the harbour, thankfully the wind was strong enough to make the water choppy thus impossible to spot white caps from cetaceans. All the boats stayed in today, the only activity seen from Mountain Pass were molesters going to the captive pens for feeding. The dolphins were tossed a few fish each only after they were forced to jump up and touch their nose to a pole. Non-human animals do not perform tricks of their own free will. It is slavery. It is barbaric.

Top of the Cliffs

Because the drive did not go out we were able to make it to the Katsuura fish market just around the corner from our hotel. Though I am glad to document what we found I wish beyond hope that I had not seen it all. Walking past hundreds of dead yellow-fin tuna, swordfish, and mackerels that were only an hour earlier swimming freely in the ocean was devastating enough. When I rounded a corner I saw a massive pile of slate-blue and white fins all jumbled together in a corner. Grabbing Peter I pointed in it’s direction. As each Cove Guardian walked over I saw faces drop at realising what it was. A pile of shark fins, the equivalent of at least 300 sharks. There was not a single body at the market and these were freshly cut. Shark finning in one of the most brutal industries. Sharks are caught, have their fins and tail hacked off while still alive (hammer head sharks aslo have their “hammers” hacked off), then, finless, are dumped back into the ocean to suffocate or bleed out. Whichever comes first, but the murderers don’t care, shark fin is much too valuable to actually stay ON the shark.  

We checked on Ringi and the others at the Whale Museum then popped into a souvenir shop in the same parking lot. Along side hundreds of whale and dolphin figurines, posters, books, and toys there was a massive cooler the length of the store filled with whale meat. It is sick, beyond sick. I am thankful to be looking through a lens while I am here so I do not need to live in reality entirely.

One more stop at the Dolphin resort to check on those prisoners. It is a concentration camp, there is no other way to describe that place. There is one dolphin in the foremost pen that has been sick for some time. Today he/she was spy-hopping (bobbing up and down vertically). This is a common behaviour that animals develop when kept in confined spaces. Animals on factory farms, fur farms, any aquarium, marine park, or zoo, any animal kept in a cage develops neurotic tendencies. The dolphins in the central pen (where tourists comes to get a kick out of grabbing and molesting the bodies of dolphins) found a stick they were able to toss around in the air and catch with eachother. The rest simple found pieces of plastic and shopping bags to play with. Two individuals had pastic bags wrapped around their snouts and one had a bag stuck to their dorsal fin.

The sick dolphin was then molested into a corner of the pen by four trainers while a fifth gave it an injection and sprayed antiseptic of some sort on his/her tail flukes. This dolphin is so stressed out that with the repetitive spy hopping the tail is being constantly rubbed against the bottom of the nets, where it has rubbed away the first outer layer of skin exposing pale grey flesh and the tips of the tail have been worn away with a constant flow of blood being extremely visible. Every day we will be returning and watching, just hoping that one day we will arrive to seeing only three dolphins in that pen with no explanation as to where the fourth, sick, dolphin disappeared to.

The best you can do help is to stop supporting all fisheries, all industries that exploit the earth. You may think that if you won’t buy dolphin and whale meat that you don’t support the slaughter and insanity but everything is intertwined. If you go to a dolphinarium, aquarium, marine park, or swim-with-the-dolphin program you are contributing. If you are buying any marine life you are contributing to the mass over-fishing of the oceans, which not only greedily take ‘food” for humyns but whose nets also kill on average 12-15 MILLION dolphins annually. If you eat other livestock you are still contributing to the fishing industry as the majority of factory farmed animals are fed fish meal (approx. 1/3 of all the world’s fishing stock is used for this, as well as used for domestic pet food and other materials).

Go vegan. For the planet, the animals, and yourself.

For photos and videos go to and follow @seashepherd on twitter for instant updates. We will not be releasing photos individually, all information can be seen through Sea Shepherd first. To become involved with the Cove Guardian campaign contact for more information. Donations are always welcome and needed.

All together now!

- Adrienne

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