HSI joins the urgent calls to release minke whale trapped in Taiji's fishing nets

By : Humane Society International December 30, 2020

A minke whale has been trapped in Taiji's fishing nets in Japan since Christmas day despite growing calls for its release. Life Investigation Agency (LIA), has been documenting the situation and is working in collaboration with Dolphin Project.

Today marks the sixth day that this whale has had to endure confinement within the Taiji offshore set nets, despite numerous efforts to escape. The latest drone footage taken by LIA shows the trapped whale swimming in circles, deep diving, and repeatedly swimming into the net, likely in a desperate attempt to break free.

HSI's Animal Welfare Program Manager, Ms Georgie Dolphin, said, "The minke whale must be increasingly distressed and should not have to endure such unnecessary suffering. Given inaction by the Taiji Fisheries Cooperative so far, we implore the Japan Fisheries Agency to step in to release this whale.”

The nets, owned by the Taiji Fisheries Cooperative, are in place throughout the year, but so far they have made no attempts to release it. In the meantime, the whales' risk of entanglement in the nets is growing and the whale would be getting weaker without food.

Ms Dolphin concluded, "It is soul-destroying to see the minke whale trying to break free. Thankfully there are dedicated activists on the ground documenting the situation, but if the whale is not released soon, we fear the worst.”

Taiji is a small town in the Wakayama Prefecture that has made its name as the largest exporter of wild-caught dolphins in the world. The dolphin hunters use the cruel drive hunting technique to corral them into the infamous Cove, selecting some for captivity and slaughtering many others. The hunters search for dolphins each day from September 1st for the six-month season, causing immense animal suffering, and the demand for captive dolphins for entertainment around the world is the key motivator for the continuation of the Taiji slaughter.

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HSI concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. HSI is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world and has been established in Australia since 1994