Oct 08, 2013

    Dolphin- killing town to open marine park

    A JAPANESE town made infamous by Oscar-winning 2009 documentary The Cove, about mass dolphin killings and Japanese fishing practices, will open a marine park where visitors can swim with dolphins, but officials said yesterday that its annual slaughter of the creatures will continue in a nearby bay.

    And organisers said that they want tourists to be able to eat dolphin and whale meat as they watch the captive animals frolic.

    The town of Taiji has begun researching a plan to section off part of a cove and turn it into a place where people can swim in the water and kayak alongside small whales and dolphins, local government official Masaki Wada said.

    But, he insisted, far from having caved in to pressure from conservationists who want an end to the yearly hunt that turns waters red with blood, the project was aimed at helping to sustain the practice.

    "We already use dolphins and small whales as a source of tourism in the cove where dolphin-hunting takes place," he said.

    "But we plan to do it on a larger scale. This is part of Taiji's long-term plan of making the whole town a park, where you can enjoy watching marine mammals while tasting various marine products, including whale and dolphin meat."

    The park will be separate from Hatakejiri Bay, the place into which fishermen corral dolphins, select a few dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks, and kill the rest for meat.