Operating at sea…

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The word confusing to describe what occurred here in Taiji this morning would be an understatement… For the first time this year, the dolphin hunters caught and trapped dolphins out at sea, without utilising the infamous killing cove…

Stationed on headlands spanning the Taiji coast, all of us Cove Guardians were as confused as the numerous others here in Taiji this morning, as well as many locals who stopped on the sides of the roads to get a better look at the goings on out to sea… Libby and myself were positioned up on the mountain pass in the early hours of the morning- this then unexpectedly proved to be the best vantage point for the entire morning! We were getting regular updates from the others who chimed in with the news that the Banger boats were indeed herding a huge pod of dolphins… Apparently they spanned across the horizon- the biggest pod many had ever seen being driven.

Many of these dolphins escaped, however, in the end. For some reason, the dolphin hunters seemed intent on only a small portion of the pod, 7 to be exact, and what they did next with the pod was totally out of the blue. They attained the gutting barge, which was equipped with piles of large orange nets in the back, and they started to drape the nets around the pod of dolphins in a large ‘horseshoe’ shape… there were banger boats positioned at the mouth of the nets to keep the dolphins in. Over about half an hour, they continually drew the nets closer and closer, closing in on the dolphins tighter and tighter… When they were at a point where they had very little room to swim around, the banger boats were driven back to harbour, and the work was continued solely by the skiffs.

There was about 8 divers in the water, helping to trap and load the dolphins onto skiffs… all seven Pacific White Sided dolphins were loaded onto skiffs which were embarking upon several trips, and were put into the captive dolphin holding pens in Taiji Harbour. Its seemed to be a huge operation for merely 7 dolphins… however the money each of these dolphins generate due to the captive dolphin trade more than makes up for the costs of driving. It is easy to see that the captive dolphin trade is a large part of the drive hunt here in Taiji… If it were not, and they truly were primarily focused upon providing their town with a supply of dolphin meat- they would have made more of an effort to herd the fifty or so dolphins they had within their grasp. It is not difficult for these hunters to catch up with a pod and continue herding them in the direction intended- today was a very clear sign of the dolphins trades’ high importance among the dolphin fishermen of Taiji…

Watch the video footage I shot below for a better look into today’s operations…

Don’t forget to keep sending in your questions to pathtoprotect@hotmail.com for me to answer in my video blogs! Please also send your videos to get involved with my new Youth Project- you can find out more in my previous blog, or on my Facebook Page…

You can follow my videos here on this blogpage (which I will continue to update every day) as well as my Youtube Channel
Also, don’t forget to add me as a friend on Facebook if you haven’t yet- for regular updates, photos, information and videos from the Cove.

If you want to help: Please help us put pressure upon the Japanese government and embassys worldwide- let them know that you oppose the slaughter by calling and emailing.

Thankyou everyone for your continued support, and positive feedback! We all really appreciate it!
On the path to protect,



  1. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember reading about them catching Pacific White Sided dolphins this season. If this is indeed a first, then they must have salivated at the sight of them, knowing they only needed a handful to really score a profit. I think they chose to round them at sea, in an attempt to keep them from getting any cuts or scrapes that seem to always happen to these poor babies when driven into the cove. But from the looks of the way they were dragged into the skiffs, it’s hard to believe they were injury free 😦 I feel so bad for the 7 who will now suffer in a life of captivity. I can only pray their family members fled as far away from this hellhole as possible, and did not stick around looking for the others. Thank you for the update and footage, Nicole. We just love seeing Taiji’s “pride” and “heritage” at work. What a load.

  2. I agree with Ashley, they seemed to be working with quite motivated energy. Like they couldn’t get them in the pens quick enough! They treated them like garbage, trash thrown with no concern. Yet these Dolphins bring a bunch of money for them. Greed is such a driven force for many. So sad that it interferes with doing what is right. Always wanting the easy way out is not always what is right, these fisherman could find other work, maybe make less, but not take part in such brutality. Instead, they choose this. Sad that they do not see how wrong this all is. Thanks again Nicole! Stay strong! We need you, the Dolphins need you!

  3. 7 of these great animals caught for life!
    Too sickning for words……….
    Thanks Nicole, for the great work you are doing out there!

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