Figures from the latest Taiji dolphin hunt season, which began last September, suggest that around 130 individual hunts took place with over 500 dolphins killed.
Every year, starting on September 1st, fishermen in the Taiji region of Japan leave the shore to kill a range of different species.
Once a pod of dolphins is spotted, fishermen bang on metal poles, creating an underwater ‘curtain’ of noise, which confuses and disorientates the dolphins. They are then herded (or driven) together to shore. Some of them, usually juveniles and calves, may be allowed to return to the ocean, alone, frightened and stressed.
The rest are not so lucky. They could be killed for meat or hand-picked to live out their lives in a dolphinarium.
Around 180 dolphins were taken alive in the hunts this year for sale to aquaria.