For several years, the dolphin drive hunt in Taiji had taken place from October 1st through March. In recent years, however, the dolphin hunters in Taiji have started the dolphin-killing season early, on September 1st.
In the past few years, the dolphin hunters, due to a lack of demand for dolphin meat in Japan, have ended the hunts a month early, at the end of February rather than the end of March. Some harpooning of dolphins continues offshore of Taiji in March and sometimes April, but the drive hunts end. Again, according to inside sources, we believe our Campaign and the efforts of other organizations to highlight the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated meat is the reason demand for meat, and hence the annual hunts, are decreasing in size and duration.
The term “drive fishery” derives from the method of driving, or herding, dolphins into a designated killing cove or harbor. We avoid the term “drive fishery,” as it leads many to believe that we are talking about fish rather than large marine mammals. Therefore, we call it “dolphin drive hunt.” The annual dolphin drive hunt is part of coastal whaling.