by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, People.
Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons

For the second year in a row, Taiji, Japan is free of blood-stained water one week into the annual dolphin hunt.

A pod of around 10 dolphins (initial reports said 20) that were earlier driven into the infamous killing cove have now been set free. Well, some of them. Just like last year, a few of the best dolphins were rounded up to be sold to aquariums. As was told in Blood Dolphins, such sales account for a large portion of income for Taiji fisherman.

So while it was a week devoid of bloodshed, a catch and release of this sort should not be a sign that things are necessarily changing. Last year, after a release just like this one, a pod of 50 pilot whales (members of the dolphin species) were slaughtered a few weeks later.

How long the waters stay free of blood depends most likely on international interest and monitoring by conservation groups. It’s no easy task — Japan’s dolphin hunts lasts from September to February. To find out how you can help, visit

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • don miguelo

    Who’s buying the dolphins?

    Shouldn’t that be known, where they end up– that they were ripped from their pods in Taiji?

    • Lyla

      The dolphins were most likely sold to marine parks in Japan, the Phillipines, or the Carribean. Countries that don’t care about the welfare of their dolphins, or anyother animal for that matter.

      • From MN, with hope…

        Some of those are here in America as well. Remember Lolita?

  • Carrie Leber

    I think they sell to Seaworld and US organizations as well. The nerve to kidnap a wild animal and sell it – the dolphins belong to the world not the Japanese. I know this happens with birds, tigers, elephants, ect – keep wild things wild.

  • Toorisugari

    @From MN, with hope…

    Yes and this year, as always, I saw some European/American traders in Taiji choosing dolphins. Don’t know which aquarium they are from, though…


    “How long the waters stay free of blood” does not depend on international interest. It’s just September is for dolphinariums, later months are for supermarkets.

    Sales price is actually not that high as shown in the cove or blood dolphins. A dolphins is sold to dolphinariums for a few thousand, and there are 50-90 of them so it makes $100,000 to $500,000 in total (if there are foreign sales, which is rare, it could fetch $500,000 but not more). There are hundreds of fishermen who shares the reward so personal share is quite small.

  • imforthewhales

    All very sad….

  • Mick

    Many news articles say that they kill around 2,000 dolphins in Taiji every year. However, they also say that a total of about 20,000 dolphins are killed in Japan every year. So, where are the other 18,000 being killed? And why don’t you ever hear Ric o’Barry talk about that? Even if they stop killing dolphins in Taiji, that means that another 18,000 will still be killed.
    They also talk about the high mercury levels in dolphins. If the mercury levels are so bad, how come the people of Taiji aren’t all sick or dead? For that matter, how come the dolphins aren’t all sick or dead? Instead of trying to stop people from eating dolphins with high levels of mercury, wouldn’t it be better to stop polluting the oceans with mercury in the first place?

  • Nicole

    Check again- bloody cove today.