Taiji, Japan’s dolphin hunt is by far the largest in the world, thanks to the awareness raised by Sea Shepherd’s live footage and the Academy Award-winning 2009 documentary “The Cove,” which was produced by the Oceanic Preservation Society. However, Taiji’s captivity round-up and subsequent slaughter is not the only one happening in ocean waters.
In fact, another annual dolphin slaughter takes place in the Pacific off the coast of the Solomon Islands, an area flanked by Papua New Guinea to the west and Australia to the south.
It’s estimated that up to 350 dolphins were recently caught and killed on Fanalei Island on Small Malaita, reports Solomon Star News. A typical hunt year usually sees up to 1,000 dolphins captured and slaughtered.
Much like Taiji’s hunt, tradition is claimed as the driving force behind this area’s annual slaughter.
According to Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, “The dolphins traditionally provide meat for villages. The teeth are also used for purchasing brides, which often leads to killing far more dolphins than are needed for subsistence.”
In 2009, three villages engaged in the slaughter, including Fanalei, signed an agreement with conservation group Earth Island Institute, switching out slaughter activities for monetary payments that would provide income for what they’d normally get from the dolphin hunt, as reported by Australia Network News.
However, this agreement soon fell to pieces at the beginning of 2013 when, according to Australia Network News, village representatives said that they had not received any compensation from the nonprofit and resumed their hunting despite Earth Island stating that it did indeed provide the promised money amounting to nearly $350,000.
Despite this stand-off, one thing is clear: the slaughter has resumed and dolphins that should not die are being killed.
Our oceans are under increased pressure from intensive human activities, and placing them under more stress simply in the name of tradition is perhaps even more detrimental, as this label often allows unsustainable and cruel activities to continue unabated without much thought given to what it all really means.
We have the power to change our traditions into ones that encompass compassion instead of domination. But the question remains: are we willing to let go of the old to make room for a brighter future for all, both human and non-human alike?
Image source: Wikipedia Commons