Fishermen in the town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture continue to receive a deluge of criticism over their claimed traditional dolphin hunt. U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy’s tweet condemning the annual cull brought persistent angry fax messages and phone calls to the Taiji Fisherman’s Cooperative.
Kennedy’s tweet in January expressed her opposition to the dolphin hunt, saying, ‘Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG [U.S. Government] opposes drive hunt fisheries.” The post saw a backlash directed at the town’s fishing cooperative with angry facsimile messages. Photos of Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen with an “X” marked across his face, or sometimes written with the word “crimes,” have been received by the cooperative, as well as phone calls denouncing their way of making a living. Such acts forced them to change their fax number to avoid further harassment from the public. Despite this, a spokesperson from the cooperative expressed their commitment to continue their hunts. “It is a pointless debate because there is a fundamental gap in values,” he noted. “We have to continue fishing without making a fuss.”
As such, police officers are assigned to patrol the town to prevent any trouble from brewing. A former whaling ship crew noted that such a sight is common nowadays. “For many people, the sight may be intimidating. But I have become accustomed to it,” said the 70-year old. Meanwhile, conservation group Sea Shepherd announced its continued advocacy to fight the slaughter. Local Sea Shepherd leader Melissa Sehgal welcomed Kennedy’s tweets as it raised more awareness among Japanese of the issue of the small town’s dolphin hunting. Some Sea Shepherd members are still in town, monitoring the hunt, months after they arrived. The conservationists have uploaded videos and photos to different social networking sites to raise awareness and gain support. Funds were also solicited for their campaign in a Facebook post, which says, “The dolphin killers continue to slaughter and capture dolphins.” The slaughter caught the eye of the international public and activists after an Academy Award winning documentary of the Taiji hunt, titled The Cove, was released in 2009.
[via Asahi Shimbun]
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