The Cove inspired Sea Shepherd’s action in Taiji; Whale Wars back in December?

Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, which followed former Flipper trainer Ric O’Barry’s efforts to expose dolphin slaughter, inspired Sea Shepherd’s actions in Japan to shift from trying to release captured dolphins to simply document what’s happening, including live streaming from the cove.

Meanwhile, as to the group’s most famous effort–stopping Japanese whaling in the Antarctic, which is documented on the Animal Planet series Whale Wars, Watson recently said that the series will return in December. It has been complicated and delayed by a Ninth Circuit court injunction ruling that Sea Shepherd U.S.A. and Watson–as a U.S. citizen–must stay 500 yards from Japanese ships. As he explains here, that doesn’t apply to the ships, which are registered in other countries, and the campaign continued because, he says, Sea Shepherd U.S.A. “withdrew completely from the campaign, and I resigned as the president of Sea Shepherd U.S.A., and I also resigned as the executive director.”

Meanwhile, the six-month season for capturing and killing dolphins in Taiji started Sept. 1, and Paul Watson wrote on Friday that The Cove inspired their strategy. Perhaps this is self-serving rhetoric, but it is interesting nevertheless:

“With great reluctance we decided to refrain from further dolphin releases and do it Ric’s way. And we believe that it is a strategy that can work but it will not work overnight. That is why we have called it Operation Infinite Patience.

So following the success of The Cove, Sea Shepherd returned to Taiji to carry on the strategy pioneered by Ric. To monitor and document within the restricted boundaries of Japanese law.

But we added something that had not been done before and that was to have a team on the ground in Taiji, day in and day out, continuously watching and documenting every movement of the killers.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.