The state of our oceans is no secret. The facts are there if you'd like to digest them. Sustaining 90% of the world's biodiversity the ocean environment and it's life are being systematically wiped out. The ocean is being treated like an industry and to those who wish to treat it that way it is worth $20 trillion annually in ecological goods and services. 90% of the big fish in the sea are gone. And the nation of Japan is at the forefront of the battle between the fishing industry and the battle to save life in our oceans.
In the small town of Taiji on Japan's southern coast in a national park a handful of fishermen are slaughtering hundreds of thousands of dolphins by driving them into an area notoriously known as the cove, spearing them and slitting their throats. The issue was brought to millions by the daring and shocking feature documentary 'The Cove'. Those that don't get used as meat (which has levels of mercury) are sold to aquariums and spared for the multi billion dollar marine park entertainment industry. To add to Japan's crimes against nature is the issue of their continual violation of the International Whaling Commission's 1986 moratorium on whaling. Japan using a loophole in the treaty that allows taking whales on the basis of 'scientific research' hunts down and harpoons to death hundreds of whales in the waters off Antarctica. In 2010 the Japanese issued themselves with a quota of 935 minke whales, 50 endangered fin whales and 50 endangered humpback whales of which they butchered 528. They do this in the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary again in violation of an international conservation law established to protect the area in 1994.
On October 21st Ric O' Barry activist from Earth Island Institute featured in the film Th Cove. spoke about the ongoing situation in Taiji and his efforts to meet with fishermen and officials in Taiji to broker an agreement that will signal a complete cessation of the killing of dolphins. O' Barry has been successful in the Solomon islands where he convinced tribal chiefs to terminate the dolphin slaughter by subsidizing them to participate in sustainable projects. A few days later many of us found ourselves together again to hear Captain Paul Watson founder of Sea Shepherd talk on all the threats facing our oceans. Watson has worked tirelessly for more than 35 years to stop all illegal whaling, dolphins massacres, seal hunts and on other animal rights issues across the globe. Watson has plenty of enemies but to him and those that support him this doesn't deter them because usually it means they're being affective.
The environmental movement needs figures like O'Barry and Watson whose direct action tactics and unflinching determination have saved thousands of animals and are changing the way those responsable for the slaughter view these amazing creatures. In one respect we are all repsonsible when we don't speak out against these crimes. Nature is not anyone's property to do as they please with. It is the right of everyone to a planet with healthy biodversity and ecosystems. It is the right of animals to not be tortured and brutalized in this way. It is their right to live. While they can't defend themselves it's up to us to defend them from ourselves.