“Is today a ‘red cove day’ or a ‘blue cove day?’” dolphin and whale lovers the world over ask each day from early October until early March. Together, we celebrate with grateful hearts each “blue cove day,” which marks that no cetaceans were killed in Taiji, Japan that particular day. Typically, that means that the weather wasn’t good, the seas were too rough, or the Taiji fishermen (a.k.a. hunters) either had the day off or other maintenance work to do. “Red cove days,” on the other hand, devastate us as Risso’s or bottlenose dolphins meet a gruesome death at the hands of these Taiji fishermen, and the sea dwellers’ blood saturates the waters that have become known as the “killing cove.”

It’s a stark contrast for us, but such labeling can oversimplify the grim reality for marine animals that once freely roamed the Pacific Ocean but are now stuck in that cove. These animals are still alive but sit in limbo, awaiting their fates, like the Risso’s dolphin you see in the photo featured below.

It may appear that this dolphin is “playing,” but the truth is that she has no say in this matter. She must fetch the ball this Taiji Whale Museum trainer pitches in order to receive food. If she fails, she will continue to starve.



For these cetaceans, a “blue cove day” is a far cry from some joyous occasion. If it is not just one more day lying in wait for death, then it is the dawn of a new life spent helplessly trapped in captivity. For this Risso’s dolphin, a heartbreaking and seriously unhealthy existence awaits in a museum that doesn’t even recognize the basic needs of this incredible species.

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians have been fighting for these cetaceans for years, and they need our help to end this ongoing tragedy. Here’s what you can do to assist:

  • Avoid buying a ticket to any marine park, captive whale museum, or dolphin/whale show. Such patronage doesn’t just support a miserable life in captivity for these animals… it also funds the killings that mark “red cove days.”
  • Encourage others to abstain from visiting these places, as well, by posting reviews that describe these realities on sites such as TripAdvisor.
  • Be a voice for these animals. Sign petitions and speak out against these cruel offenses being perpetrated on these sentient beings.
  • Support Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian team so that they can continue to fight for an end to these killings.
  • Share this information so that others understand what is happening in Taiji and can join the fight.

Image source: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians / Facebook