Posted by: azurejello | March 4, 2010

The Cove – A 10 Year Old’s Perspective

The Cove is a thrilling, real life story. It’s an Academy Award-nominated Best Documentary (along with Food Inc., another great documentary), and has won many other awards since it was screened at the Sundance Festival, and all over the world.

It takes place in Taiji, Japan, a place you would think that the people loved dolphins, since they have a Whale Museum, dolphin-shaped ferries, dolphin monuments and more. That’s where a crack team of environmentalists (sort of like a green version of the movie Oceans 11) decided they wanted to find out what was really going on in Taiji’s hidden cove.

First, a little background. The cove is a hidden lagoon where you can’t see in unless you are actually within its curved area, but you can’t get in because the area is secured by fences, “Keep Out” signs and informal guards.

During the day, large boats go out and catch hordes of dolphins. They then bring them into netted areas of water, where they are held until sold to multi-million dollar companies, such as SeaWorld, which train the dolpins for performing. But something bad is happening in the cove; hundreds of dolphins that nobody wants are taken into the hidden cove and don’t return. The only thing onlookers see is the water near the entrance to the cove turning red with blood.

Uncovering what was happening in the cove was the mission of The Cove team (including director Louie Psihoyos). Their job was to get into the cove, uncover the secret and expose it to the world.

Using all kinds of high-tech equipment: from a U.S. army thermal camera to a simple video camera, the OPS (Oceanic Preservation Society) team was ready to show how the fishermen of Taiji were lying to the world.

Meet Ric O’Barry, who worked with captive dolphins for about 10 years, and from then on opposed dolphin captivity for the last 30 or so years. O’Barry was once one of the most famed dolphin trainers after the TV show Flipper premiered in 1964. When Kathy, the star dolphin of the show died in his arms, O’Barry decided that dolphin captivity was wrong.

The Japanese government didn’t want the OPS team to uncover what was happening in the cove. They told other nations that they were only catching dolphins for training, not for meat. One of the only international agencies trying to help stop this was the International Whaling Commission (IWC), but several voting members were under the influence of the Japanese representative, so the IWC was stuck in the mud.

It gets worse. The excess dolphin meat is being put in school kids lunches, and they don’t know its there. Another similar thing is happening in supermarkets throughout Taiji and Japan. The consumers don’t know what there eating. They can walk in and pick up a package of of fish and it could be contaminated dolphin meat.  There are high levels of mercury in dolphins, which originates from pollution coming from massive factories/coal plants that enters the ocean and is eaten by various sea creatures until it reaches dolphins, which are at the top of the food chain, which is like a circle of life. Then humans eat it, and as you may know, mercury is one of the most toxic elements on the face of the earth. And now Japanese children are eating it.

This situation is similar to what happened in Minamata, Japan, where the cities drinking water was polluted with methyl mercury, which came from a Chisso plant. Many residents of Minamata got mercury poisoning, which became known as Minimata Disease. The disease is a syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. The symptoms include numbness of face, hands or legs, muscles wearing out, losing vision or hearing and in the worst cases, insanity, coma and possibly a week after, death most likely will happen. What was horrible in this case was that the government and Chisso didn’t do anything to help until things got out of hand.

We can’t let this happen again.

Watch The Cove, a 5-star documentary full of excitement, thrilling and informative. Learn what you can do to help. Avoid eating seafood that you either don’t know where it’s from or you don’t know what it is. Avoid eating un-sustainable seafood. Avoid using lots of energy because it releases more CO2 and other chemicals, which leak into the ocean.

Visit The Cove to learn more.

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Responses

  1. Very well-done! You couldn’t have put it any better. I agree completely and encourage your blog readers to see “The Cove” if they haven’t already, and to not shy away from the potentially troubling subject matter.

    Indeed, the result has been powerfully effective. More than anything else, this film has catapulted this issue into the forefront of the global collective consciousnes.

    Change is afoot, thanks in large part to The Cove!

    Thank you for your excellent synposis.

    Cheryl

    Cheryl M. McCormick, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    American Cetacean Society
    P.O. Box 1391
    San Pedro, CA 90731
    (310) 548-6279 (office)
    (310) 293-4613 (mobile)
    (310) 548-6950 (fax)
    c.mccormick@acsonline.org

  2. This documentary sounds interesting but troubling. It’s difficult to think about what is happening to these amazing mammals.

  3. Congrats-you won. And well deserved it is too.

    You’re from Vermont no? And ten years old?

    Were you able to stay up late enough to watch until this prize was given out?
    Way to go Bradley.


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