This is a follow-up to yesterday’s report of The Black Fish group cutting nets of dolphin holding pens in Taiji, Japan.
Facebook postings by Black Fish, Sea Shepherd. Sept. 29, 2010:
Blackfish? – Commentary by Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Who and what is blackfish?
We do not know. In fact, until the report that dolphin holding pen nets had been cut in Taiji harbour and a release to that effect was posted, we had never heard of this group.
Our team on the ground at Taiji were caught by surprise when angry Japanese fishermen confronted them and they were questioned extensively by police.
What we have found out is that Blackfish is a European group and that they indeed did send a team of divers to Taiji, and that nets on the dolphin holding pens were in fact cut.
Scott West, our director of investigations is a trained law enforcement officer. He carefully analyzed the situation and the evidence, and he has confirmed that the nets were cut. He also confirmed that no dolphins were freed unfortunately.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society believes that opposition to the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji must include a diversity of approaches. We support all groups opposed to this slaughter and it is not up to us to judge, to condone nor condemn the methods of other groups and individuals.
The mission of Scott and Elora West in Taiji is to observe, document and report. Sea Shepherd has no intention of committing any illegal actions at Taiji.
Blackfish has reported that they cut the nets. They never claimed to have freed any dolphins and they do not have any documentation of their actions. The evidence demonstrates that their claim to have damaged the nets is accurate. There is no evidence of any escapes. The fishermen, the Japanese media and the Japanese police claim that no dolphins have escaped.
Dolphins could have escaped and the fishermen, police, and media could simply be denying it, but the reaction towards our Sea Shepherd crew indicates that no dolphins escaped. If they had, the fishermen would be angrier and the police would most certainly have taken Scott West into custody for questioning. Secondly, the history demonstrates that they would be making a very big deal about any losses because in their minds they are the victims and the people defending the dolphins are the criminals.
Sea Shepherd’s position is to observe and report events as truthfully as possible. This is what Scott West has done and will continue to do.
The only eyes and ears that have been at Taiji since September 1st, the day the dolphin drive officially began has been the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society first with Michael Dalton and his team from Brisbane, Australia, and now Scott and Elora West. We think this is a valuable mission to monitor the activities at Taiji on a daily basis. It has not been done before.
Black Fish Responds – Commentary by Wietse Van Der Werf, co-founder Black Fish Conservation Society
Some comments here on Facebook have questioned our efforts in Taiji and we feel the need to clarify some things.
During the night our action took place, it was very bad weather. Thunder, lightning and very heavy downpours made it hard to even be outside. After nearly two weeks of covert surveillance, our divers made the decision to go into the bay and attempt to free the dolphins from their pens that night, knowing that there would be a possibility that any footage might be unusable due to the bad weather conditions. Moving in under the cover of the storm did mean the security and fishermen were nowhere to be seen, so the actual practical outcome for the animals would have the best possible chance of being successful. This means we decided to choose to focus on the release effort over getting good usable media footage.
We have always stuck to the facts. We have made claim to have cut nets in order to allow the dolphins to swim out, which we did. We couldn’t be sure exactly if and how many dolphins managed to get out as we were operating in the pitch black during a thunder storm. The police in Taiji and a Japanese reporter now say that no dolphins managed to get out. While this might be the case, as unfortunate as it would be, we do believe that we should treat the information from these two sources with some caution. What we know is that we did whatever we could to set these defenseless dolphins free. Giving them the best chance of getting out of there and back out to sea before ending up as an attraction and locked up in a tank to entertain humans for the rest of their lives.
Sea Shepherd is doing important work in Taiji, trying to get the world’s attention drawn to the slaughter by guarding at the cove and reporting what happens there throughout the killing season. Ric O’Barry is working on changing the hearts and minds of the Japanese public with his organization Save Japan Dolphins by moving away from Taiji and into the bigger cities. Many other organizations around the world work to end these brutal killings and the affiliated dolphinarium trade. We hope we can all continue to strengthen each others work in giving this senseless slaughter the attention it deserves.
Wietse van der Werf
Co-founder of The Black Fish