Japan’s Infamous Dolphin Slaughter Town Wants ‘Marine Park’
The Japanese fishing town notorious for its savage slaughter of dolphins each year now says it wants to open a marine park that will also feature whale cutlet burgers and dolphin meat as snacks for visitors.
Taiji and its bloody dolphin kill were highlighted in the 2009 documentary “The Cove,” which won an Oscar for best documentary the following year.
Organizers there want to fence off a portion of the cove to create the park in which people can swim and kayak alongside small whales and dolphins.
Town official Masaki Wada assures critics that the dolphin slaughter, carried out by stabbing the marine mammals with stakes, will continue.
“Our town will proceed with the concept that there is food culture, as well as tourism, when it comes to whales,” Wada told The Australian.
“We are not doing anything wrong, and we do not aim to cease our legitimate business because of criticism from outside.”
Wada says proceeds from the new marine park will help endow the fishing fleet, which carries out the slaughter, as well as the capture of dolphins sold to marine parks around the world.
The town caught 1,277 dolphins in 2012 and has license to capture 2,026 this season, which began in September.
Scene from “The Cove” in which so many dolphins are slaughtered that the surrounding water turns red.
Starfish ‘Melting’ Off Vancouver, BC
Experts at Canada’s Vancouver Aquarium say they are puzzled by what is causing thousands of sunflower starfish, or sea stars, to die in the waters of Vancouver Harbor and Howe Sound.
What is even more startling is the way the creatures perish — by quickly dissolving in a phenomenon the aquarium has dubbed Sea Star Wasting Syndrome.
“They have disintegrated, and now there is just goo left,” says research diver and taxonomist Donna Gibbs.
But she says that young starfish have been seen in the same area that look healthy, providing hope that the population could rebound.
Aquarium staff say they have had trouble gathering specimens for testing since some starfish that looked healthy in the ocean were goo by the time they reached the lab.
A similar string of starfish deaths was reported in July in the North Atlantic from New Jersey to Maine.
In both the British Columbia and Atlantic areas affected by the die off, there had been a population bloom of the creatures in recent years.
“We think it is disease. It is overpopulation and pestilence,” Gibbs told Global News. “The numbers grew so out of control and then a disease hit them and just wiped them out. That is what we think. We are not sure yet, but that is the first thought.”
A dying sea star photographed off Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 2, 2013.