JAPANESE - police have launched an investigation after nets of holding pens for dolphins were found to have been cut during an annual traditional hunt, news reports said yesterday.
Investigators enquiring into the damage to property were looking into a statement claiming responsibility on the website of European conservation organisation Black Fish. The group said on Monday its divers cut open the nets of six pens holding dolphins caught since the hunt started on September 2 in the village of Taiji in south-western Japan.
A number of the trapped animals were able to swim back out to sea, the Black Fish statement said. But major daily Yomiuri reported yesterday that no dolphins escaped. The tiny remote village in Japan drew increasing international attention after 2009 US documentary The Cove described the annual traditional dolphin hunt.
Richard O’Barry, an activist who campaigns to protect dolphins, submitted a petition with 1.7 million signatures against the practice to the US embassy in Tokyo in early September, when the annual hunt started.
The hunt continues until spring, based on a catch limit of around 2000 animals set by the government.