Sea Shepherd and Taiji
On October 6, 2003, after hiding out for several weeks in the cliffs overlooking the bay, crewmembers of Sea Shepherd's Taiji Dolphin Campaign covertly filmed and photographed the hunters slaughtering dolphins in the cove. The shocking images revealing the blood-red waters of Taiji’s killing cove were carried by the media worldwide and sparked international outcry against the now-infamous drive hunt.
On November 18, 2003, two Sea Shepherd crewmembers, Alison Lance Watson and Alex Cornelissen, dove into the bay and swam out to free 15 dolphins who were to be killed the following morning. Allison and Alex were immediately arrested upon returning to shore. In order to help secure their release, Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson wrote a letter to the Japanese police in which he stated that Sea Shepherd would not send anyone into Japan with the intention of breaking the law.
For the past several years, protestors and occasionally journalists have gone to Taiji to document the first weeks of the six-month hunt. In 2010, Captain Watson asked the question, “What would happen if we never left Taiji?” He asked Sea Shepherd Director of Intelligence Scott West and his daughter Elora Malama West to “go find out.” The two travelled to Taiji and were joined on the ground by many more Sea Shepherd volunteers.
In 2010, the annual dolphin death toll was reduced by around 50% due to the ongoing presence of Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians, who shocked the dolphin hunters with their persistence, photographs and video footage. For the first time, the entire dolphin hunt season was documented and recorded – Taiji’s bloody secret was now exposed to the world audience for the entire hunt season.
Operation Infinite Patience
Sea Shepherd’s Operation Infinite Patience campaign began in 2011 and continued annually with a growing international team of Sea Shepherd volunteers standing watch over the cove every day throughout the entire six-month hunt season each year.
Our ‘Cove Guardians’ provide the world with uninterrupted reports from Taiji. The Cove Guardians photograph, record and publicly live-stream to the internet every capture and every slaughter so that the hunters moral and cruel crimes against cetaceans and profiteering are revealed in their entirety.
Operation Henkaku (Operation Metamorphosis)
On September 1, 2015, Sea Shepherd returned to Taiji for Operation Henkaku (Operation Metamorphosis), the sixth consecutive season of our Dolphin Defence Campaign.
Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians continued to document and live stream the capture and slaughter of dolphins and small whales in the cove, exposing these atrocities to the world. The campaign brought an additional and vitally important focus of raising awareness of the inextricable link between the dolphin slaughter and the global captive industry.
Return of Operation Infinite Patience
For the 2016/2017 dolphin hunt season, the management of Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians has transferred to Sea Shepherd UK. Operation Infinite Patience was re-instated by popular request and new innovative tactics and equipment is being used to document hunts and expose the cruelty and killing despite comprehensive measures taken by the dolphin killers to conceal their activities.
You can follow the updates direct from our crew in Taiji at: