When “The Cove” Lies

Nami, is a nearly forty-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin who lives at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. This facility is one of fourty-four marine life facilities in the United States and Mainland Europe that does NOT take any dolphins out of drive fisheries.

In March 2010, the documentary The Cove won an Oscar for “Best Documentary”. This film focuses on the slaughter of dolphins off the coast of Taiji, Japan.  While the killing of dolphins in Japan is pretty much real, the reasons behind it is completely deceptive. This is because, the filmmakers of the movie claim that most marine life facilities get their dolphins from Japan when truthfully, they do NOT! Below is a two part commentary that focuses on the inaccuracy statements made by dolphin extremist Ric O’Barry  film producer Fisher Stevens, and director, Louie Psihoyos.

  • Since the making of these videos, it has been alleged by activist groups that 15 dolphins were imported into Turkey from Japan, and several more into two former Soviet ruled countries in eastern Europe.
  • Sea Shepherd’s “Cove Guardians” have cited that NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has granted SeaWorld San Diego a permit to import a young male pilot whale named Argo.  Keep in mind that Argo stranded as a neonate and alone in Moriya Seashore of Katsuura City, Japan on January 10th, 2004. He was NOT collected from any drive fishery or otherwise the permit would have been denied.
  • In 2010, Ocean World, a dolphin facility in the Dominican Republic, filed a lawsuit against Ric O’Barry after being defamed during a CNN interview.
  • As of 2011 only one drive-fishery animal resides in the US. It’s a female false killer whale named Kina. She was originally imported by the US Marine Mammal Navy Program from Ocean Park in Hong Kong in 1987. She was later sent to the Hawaiian Institute of Marine Biology  in 2000.
  • An attempt by one US aquarium to acquire false killer whales from a 1993 drive fishery was blocked by the US National Marine Fisheries as they considered such operations to be inhumane. This eventually led to an effective ban on imports of drive fishery animals into the US.
However, there are several facts that remain………….
  • Asia and the Middle East are the two active markets for Japanese dolphins. However, the main markets are in Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.
  • The Japanese drive fisheries pre-date aquariums by almost 350 years. It began in the year 1606 for the purposes of pest control and human consumption. However, archaeological records show that the drive fisheries go back as early as 8-9,000 years ago during prehistoric times.
  • Even if eastern marine life facilities stop acquiring dolphins from drive fisheries, Japanese fishermen would still kill dolphins for the purposes of both pest-control and human consumption.
  • Less than 8% of all dolphins caught in drive fisheries are sold to aquariums. The rest are killed in the hands of Japanese fishermen.
  • Ric O’Barry was not the first person to expose Japan’s drive fishery practices. It was first revealed by National Geographic in 1979 and three years later by filmmaker and dolphin conservation advocate Hardy Jones and the Cousteau family in a 1982 TV documentary.
  • No wild dolphin has been collected from the wild for a US facility since 1989 . It’s been three decades sine any dolphin has been imported from a drive fishery to a facility in Western Europe. The reason why many western marine life facilities have not obtain collection permits since the 1980’s is due to the success of captive breeding programs.
  • Both the Alliance for Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) and the Association for Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) prohibit any of their accredited facilities from taking  any animal from drive fisheries. Accredited  marine zoological facilities in the western hemisphere from Alaska to Argentina do not support, fund, nor acquire dolphins from the Japanese drive fisheries.
  • Much like the evolution of marine wildlife conservation awareness in the United States, only education and a changing values towards cetaceans, including dolphins, will bring an end to a three-century-old inhumane cultural hunt.

One thought on “When “The Cove” Lies

  1. >The Japanese drive fisheries pre-date aquariums by almost 350 years. It began in the year 1606 for the purposes of pest control and human consumption.

    To be more exact, the Greenpeace article refers to the whaling, not the drive dolphin hunting. Dolphin hunting has a long history in Japan, which could go back as far as 8-9,000 years. 1606 is the year when a specialized company (focused on dolphin/whale hunting) was established in Taiji. They drove big whale or pod of dolphins into nets and shore.

    The purpose of dolphin hunting is predominantly the meat. The pest-control argument, however, was used in the late 1970s and the early 1980s for hunting in Iki Island, as in other nations like Spain and Greece. Hunting in Taiji has always been done for meat, so what Ric O’Barry says on the issue is anachronistic.

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