Izumi Ishii, a former dolphin hunter who participated in the controversial dolphin hunts that happen in Japan, has come out and disputed the government stance that the annual hunt and slaughter of is an age old tradition. Ishii has teamed up with world renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry in disputing Tokyo’s position of trying to protect the controversial killing of a huge number of the mammals in the small fishing town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture.
Ishii says that 1969 was the first time his mentors in Futo, Shizuoka Prefecture began teaching Taiji fishermen how to conduct dolphin drives. Ishii said that there is evidence that this was the first time the technique of herding and trapping dolphins in a cove for easier “harvest” was conducted in Japan. Ishii was trained to capture dolphins using tools that amplify sounds underwater, thereby causing the animals to panic. Hunts at the renown “cove” in Taiji are conducted in the same way, Ishii revealed. Taiji’s fishermen use long, metal poles with bell-shaped ends, banging metal on them to create a wall of chaotic sound underwater. The panicking dolphins are then encircled by the boats and herded into a nearby cove where the slaughter happens, famously documented in the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, which highlighted the internationally-condemned acts.
Ishii revealed that he had been hunting and killing dolphins for decades, but later began to question the massive slaughter. The former fisherman has become compassionate about the dolphins’ plight in Japan, now fighting for a chance to stop the gruesome cull. However, he points out that unruly protesters rallying in Taiji only exacerbates the problem. Instead, he is looking for another way to stop the hunt, including a massive signature campaign and then submitting the signatures to the government’s Fisheries Agency. Ishii added that if there would be a huge number of Japanese and foreign residents who would indicate their disapproval, the Japanese government will have no choice but to reevaluate its current stance on the dolphin hunts.
[via Japan Times]