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Japanese Police Arrest Eco-Activists Filming Dolphin Roundup
by ANC Staff

Three members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have been arrested while using video and still cameras to document a dolphin roundup in Taiji, Japan. The three eco-activists are reportedly being held by Japanese police. Taiji is located on the south part of mainland Japan, near Osaka.

Brooke MacDonald (Canadian), Morgan Whorwood (British), and Nicholas Hensey (American) recently traveled to Japan to document the dolphin round-up and slaughter by local fisherman near Taiji.

Wild dolphin slaughter occurs in several areas of Japan. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 dolphins are killed each year via round-ups, and additional thousands killed by other means.

The three Sea Shepherd members reportedly called the local Japanese police themselves, but were then arrested. The reason for the arrest is still unclear.

While it is not illegal to document a dolphin round-up, the video documentation of the slaughter is very graphic and, according to the Conservation Society, is effective in raising awareness of the issue world-wide.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said it is very concerned about the welfare of the arrested individuals and is trying to reach them in Japan for updates.

Japanese fisherman, faced with depleted fisheries due to over-exploitation, frequently cite wild dolphins as the cause of low fish catches, and herd the dolphins with prods and nets into shallow bays for a painful and slow execution.

The slaughters are also seen as a way to eliminate non-human competition for the plummeting fish stocks.

Similar slaughters are frequent and increasing in other coastal fishing villages such as Futo. Although dolphin meat is highly toxic with industrial pollution, it can be passed as prized whale meat and sold on the open market.

The Japanese government promotes a whaling program that kills over 1000 Minke whales each year, despite the 1986 international moratorium on whaling.

Sea Shepherd took part in a successful effort to stop dolphin slaughter on Iki Island, Japan, in the early 1980's when the local fishermen signed an agreement with Sea Shepherd's Captain Paul Watson to permanently end the practice.

Sea Shepherd, founded in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson, is a non-profit, non governmental marine wildlife conservation organization which works to protect the lives of marine animals around the world.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
October 6 Press Release

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