Fishermen in Iki Island off northern Kyushu have slaughtered about 1,000 dolphins in what they claim as a necessary means of preserving fishing stocks.
AERIAL VIEW: Tshushima Straits with dolphins swimming about. (2 SHOTS)
AERIAL VIEW: Fisherman spearing dolphin.
GV: Dolphins swimming about. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Fishermen hauling dolphins onto beach.
CU: Dying dolphin.
GV & SCU: Fishermen pulling dolphins in. (2 SHOTS)
GV: Dead dolphins on beach. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: Fishermen in Iki Island off northern Kyushu have slaughtered about 1,000 dolphins in what they claim as a necessary means of preserving fishing stocks. The fishermen claim the dolphins are eating valuable squib and yelllowfin and are thereby threatening their industry. The mass killing has brought protests within Japan and in the United States.
SYNOPSIS: The Tshushima Straits is an important area for fishing however, scientists estimate it is inhabited by about 300,000 dolphins.
The Japan Times says on 23 February a fisherman stuck a harpoon into a dolphin about 23 kilometres northwest of Iki Island. The newspaper say other dolphins gathered around the wounded dolphin to help. The number quickly swelled until more than 300 fishing boats began driving dolphins towards shore, where they were clubbed to death.
The fishermen claim that they have been losing as much as one third of their catch to the dolphins. The men claim they have tried to use more peaceful methods to rid themselves of the problem... like clapping loudly to drive the mammals away. However this apparently did not work because the dolphins' keen intelligence easily saw through the ploy.
After the slaughter the fishermen dumped the bodies out to sea. The incident has brought criticism with Japan and from conservation groups in the United States, however, the fishermen say it was necessary to their livelihood.