8 YEARS LATER: DID THE COVE IMPACT DOLPHIN HUNTING?

8 years ago I watched one of the most upsetting and captivating documentaries, called The Cove. My passion and commitment to campaign about environmental issues now is all thanks to this documentary. After watching it, I felt I had a need to talk about such a sensitive issue to raise awareness and it led me to be involved in a petition movement to change how dolphins were treated.

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By just searching “dolphins in Japan” on Google Images, you are hit by dolphin hunting. If you really want to see the impact, then do that but it’s not a pretty sight. [Credit: National Geographic]

What is The Cove?

In Taiji, Japan, local fishermen hide a sickening secret: the capture and slaughter of dolphins. Activist Ric O’Barry, filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society expose the gruesome practice of dolphin hunting.

The fishermen of Taiji call this hunt a local tradition, in which they use speed boats to essentially trap tens or even hundreds of dolphins and push them into a secluded cove on the island, where tragically they are captured or killed for meat. Over the past decades, however there has been a shift to capture these beautiful creatures to sell them to marine parks or aquariums, where they are trained in a cruel way. The Ocean Preservation Society stated that one live dolphin can be valued at $200,000.

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The aftermath of “dolphin hunting” [Credit: Oceanic Preservation Society]

We knew that this movie wouldn’t change the world in a day, however it did raise awareness about dolphin hunting and shocked the world. However, fast forward 8 years and dolphin hunting is still happening. Recently it was reported that Taiji had begun their dolphin hunt and that they were targeting new species. If this carries on at this rate then we could eventually lose these beautiful animals because of people’s greed. Dolphins have a complex emotional and cognitive ability, and people have forgotten about this somehow leading to an increase in dolphin deaths and captures.

Even with the known concern that dolphins contain a high level of mercury in their system, hunting boats are still heading out. Activists and charities are doing their best to change the treatment towards dolphins but nothing is being done. The best solutionย is ensuring that a solid and written policy is put in place to ban dolphin hunting to truly warn Japanese inhabitants of their actions.

The tide needs to change for our delicate ecosystem.

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