Sea Shepherd Crew Return to Taiji despite Death Threats and Violence

On Monday, October 6, fishermen in Taiji, Japan herded forty dolphins into the bay and began to spear, slash and stab them with knives.

Three Sea Shepherd crewmembers emerged from hiding. Two had been camped out on the cliffs overlooking the bay for five days and one was posing as a tourist in the town. They pulled out their weapons and began shooting. The weapons they used are greatly feared in Taiji. They were cameras.

The fishermen had already been warned that they must not be filmed killing dolphins.

In a previous incident the fishermen had assaulted documentary film-maker Hardy Jones. They had been given a warning then by the Osaka police to refrain from ever again attacking journalists or foreigners who film the hunt.

The site of the two Sea Shepherd crew filming the slaughter angered a few of the fishermen and forgetting the warning they began to climb the cliffs to assault and threaten Brooke McDonald from Canada and Morgan Whorwood from Britain. They demanded their film and said they would kill them.

Down near the seawall, field campaign leader Nicolas Hensey of the United States was alerted to the assault by radio from Brooke McDonald. He sought help from the police station but they shut the door in his face. He was able to call the police from a nearby village and when they arrived, the police arrested the three crewmembers after the fishermen claimed they had been assaulted by the Sea Shepherd crew.

A quick thinking Brooke McDonald hid her film in her underwear and stashed a third tape of the assault in the rocks where she was able to retrieve it later.

The three were held for a few hours and questioned, fingerprinted and photographed without being charged. They were warned to not film the dolphin slaughter and released.

The Sea Shepherd crew will be filing charges against the fishermen with the Osaka police and they will be submitting a complaint against the Taiji police for failing to respond to their request for assistance. The film footage is being released to the media.

Despite the assault, the death threats and the warning by the local police to not film the slaughter, the crew have returned to Taiji to bear witness to the horrific atrocity the Japanese are inflicting upon the defenseless dolphins.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is sending more crew and cameras to Taiji to document any further dolphin massacres.

The embassies of Great Britain, Canada and the United States have been informed that their citizens have been attacked and continue to be threatened by violence from the fishermen of Taiji.

Captain Paul Watson has encouraged his crew to remain in Japan and to not back down to the killers of Taiji.

"I have seen the sadistic pleasure some of these fishermen display when they spear, stab, and slash the dolphins. Men who can inflict such wanton cruelty, who can laugh as a dolphin's blood spurts and gushes into the bay are capable of murdering humans, especially humans who stand between them and their helpless prey. My crew are armed with cameras. The fishermen are armed with spears and razor sharp knives. We have three against hundreds. The odds are uneven but my crew will not and cannot surrender the killing grounds to such callous killers. Better to stay and risk injury or death than to turn their back on such evil. I'm proud of my crew and they will stay the course for as long as they are physically able to do so."

Sea Shepherd reinforcements are presently enroute to Taiji, Japan.


To see pictures and video of the hunt documented by the Sea Shepherd crew in Japan, please go to (click)