At the 2010 Academy Awards, a film titled “The Cove” won the Oscar for best documentary. It was a proud moment for producers Fisher Stevens and Paula DuPre Pesmen, director Louie Psihoyos and activist Ric O’Barry, all of whom got on stage to accept the award. It was also the start of an onslaught of bad news for the Japanese town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture.
“The Cove” was a scathing indictment of Taiji’s 400-year-old dolphin-hunting practices, with scenes showing how fishermen corralled the creatures into a secluded cove. Some of the dolphins were sold off to aquariums and marine parks, the rest were slaughtered for meat. The film was so explicit in depicting the killing process that hundreds of outraged viewers were prompted to take action and now visit Taiji every year, demanding that the practice be stopped.