Taiji Cove is known for the dolphin drive hunts conducted several months a year, and for the outrage they cause among activists. The best-looking specimens are spared slaughter, and instead exported to marine parks across the world: a lucrative business.
The Japanese government defends the practice - albeit insisting on maximum fishing quotas. The tradition goes back decades. Dolphin meat was in urgent need locally due to food shortages after the Second World War. Nowadays, making money appears to be the prime motivation - especially when it comes to live animals. A single dolphin can fetch in excess of €100,000.