Annual Dolphin Slaughter Begins in Japan

On October 11th, Ito City Fishing Cooperative announced that they will continue their annual "drive" hunt of dolphins. They join Taiji, and other small villages along the coast of Japan, in a bloodbath that results in the death of over 20,000 dolphins and small whales annually from October through April each year.

Sanctioned by the government of Japan, which gives a quota of how many animals can be slaughtered during the hunt, these intelligent mammals are corralled into bays, where most of them suffer a long and painful death by spears, hooks, and drowning. Then, often sold under the guise of whale meat, the highly toxic flesh of these animals is marketed to the Japanese public in stores and restaurants - poisoning their own citizens.

Dolphin and whale meat can be easily found in Japanese food markets.
The painted sign written in Japanese says, "This is marinated whale meat."

Heavily funded by the captive dolphin industry which pays upwards of $20,000 per dolphin, these drives become a lucrative endeavor for these brutal murderers.  Only a small number of dolphins are actually sold for entertainment purposes. According to the Ito Fishing Cooperative, aquariums have already ordered a number of dolphins from the dive hunt. These dolphins are destined for death in captivity in an aquarium, water park, or "swim with dolphins" programs.

The species targeted include the world's best known dolphin - the bottlenose dolphin - along with striped dolphins, spotted dolphins, Risso's dolphins, false killer whales, and short-finned pilot whales. The status of each population is either threatened, endangered, or unknown.
Ever since Sea Shepherd Conservation Society brought the atrocity of the dolphin slaughter at Taiji to international public attention in October 2003, we have been involved in an ongoing campaign to end the slaughter.

Sea Shepherd is the most feared and disliked organization in Taiji. Two of our crew, Allison Lance Watson and Alex Cornelissen, physically released dolphins from the nets in November 2003 and they were jailed in return for saving the lives of dolphins. Our documentation has appeared on the front pages of the world's newspapers and the video documentation of the killing of the dolphins has been show worldwide.

Sea Shepherd is offering a reward of USD$10,000 to the person or persons who can best document the annual slaughter of dolphins and small cetaceans in Taiji or Futo, Japan. For information and eligibility requirments, visit our Rewards Page.

Sea Shepherd continues in our commitment to ending the cruel and barbaric slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

Please join us in taking action.  Please write an email, send a letter or fax, to (see the sample letter below):

Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Shinzo Abe
1-6-1 Nagata-cho 1 Chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
E-mail the Japanese Prime Minister - click here

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
E-mail the Minister of Fisheries here - click here

Ito City Fishing Cooperative
1-1-18 Arai, Ito-shi,
Shizuoka-ken, Japan 414-0043

Locate a Japanese Embassy near you:

Send a Letter of Protest

Protest the slaughter of dolphins by sending a letter to the Prime Minister of Japan. You can send a letter using our online form, or can use our sample text below and mail your letter directly.

Sample letter:


I am outraged by the annual brutal slaughter of dolphins and whales that takes place in Japan. The images of bloody red water clearly show the world that Japan has little respect for the state of the world's oceans and for the conservation of the marine resources it claims to support.

Many scientific studies show that the oceans are in decline. We must take whatever actions are necessary to stop their over-exploitation and to protect the creatures that live in them. These dolphins do not belong to Japan. The status of the species of dolphins and whales that you kill are either endangered, threatened, or unknown.  It is an unthinkable waste that they will likely end up as a meat product or deceptively sold as whale meat, polluted with toxic levels of mercury and cadmium, killing people that eat it. It is tragic and unacceptable that the remaining dolphins that are not killed will end up destined for death in an aquarium, water park, or "swim with dolphins" program.

In addition, the methods used to kill these animals are cruel. Corralling the dolphins into bays, then making them suffer a long and painful death by spears, hooks, and drowning is an inhumane way of fishing. This action is disgraceful and has caused much disappointment in the international community.

We demand that Japan permanently and immediately renounce and stop this slaughter.  We will work diligently to bring this issue to international light until you have ceased your reprehensible violence.