Japan: "Hunters Pass On Opening Day Of Dolphin Season"

"This week marked the opening of dolphin hunting season in Japan. During the six-month season, thousands of dolphins are corralled into narrow coves and captured for sale to aquariums or amusement parks. Those not captured are killed for meat. But this year, something different happened.

After Taiji's annual dolphin hunt was covertly filmed for a documentary, the little fishing village has suddenly found itself at the uncomfortable center of a media spotlight.

Police and fishermen in Taiji don't allow filming of the hunt, part of the villagers' everyday lives. But a team of activists and filmmakers went undercover to shoot the footage, telling their story in the 2009 documentary, The Cove.

Since its release, the documentary — which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival — has spurred an international outcry. In one case, Taiji's sister city — Broome in Western Australia — suspended its relationship with Taiji for as long as dolphins continue to be killed.

This week, activist and Cove star Ric O'Barry went back to Taiji for opening day of dolphin season. He was accompanied by a group of international journalists.

But this time, he didn't see any dolphins being killed. He didn't even see fishermen on the water."

NPR's All Things Considered had the story September 5, 2009.

Source: NPR, 09/08/2009