Lifestyle & Belief

Japanese dolphin hunt town Taiji considers marine safari park


Protestors denounce Taiji's annual dolphin hunt at a protest outside the Japanese embassy in London on Sept. 1 2011. Now the town is considering plans for a marine safari park.


Oli Scarff

The Japanese town of Taiji, notorious for its annual dolphin hunt, is considering turning the local Moriura Bay into a marine park for tourists.

According to a report in the local Jiji Press, the idea for the so-called "marine safari park" has been put forward by residents of the western Wakayama prefecture town and would allow visitors to swim with whales and dolphins.

Taiji came to international attention after it was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary 'The Cove', NewsCore explains.

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It describes how the film showed local fisherman slaughtering corral dolphins, selling some to aquariums and marine parks, and killing the rest to be sold as meat.

"The development of the marine park . . . is not likely to pacify activists," the news agency writes, explaining the town has been the scene of numerous protests in recent year.

As part of the plan a net would be put at the entrance to Moriura Bay and black whales and bottlenose dolphins caught near the town would be released into the pool.

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AFP reports that the project is expected to be launched within five years after negotiating with the prefectural government, which manages the bay, and with pearl farmers operating there.

"We want to send out the message that the town is living together with whales," Taiji's Mayor Kazutaka Sangen, is quoted as saying.