The picturesque Japanese fishing viliage of Taiji has become notorious in recent years for its annual dolphin hunt. Approximately 2,500 dolphins and other small cetaceans are killed in the coastal waters between September and April
Using a technique called drive fishing, hunters in a line of motorized boats create noises in the water by banging on metal poles lowered into the water; the poles have bell-shaped devices at one end to amplify the sound. The dolphins who rely on sonar to navigate, are immediately disoriented and terrified and swim frantically to shore to escape the noise. There they are corralled into a small cove and trapped overnight by nets; at sunrise the next morning they are herded into an adjacent killing cove, where they are stabbed to death by hunters using harpoons, fish hooks and knives.
Those injured or exhausted dolphins simply drown. Fishermen drag still-living dolphins onto boats with hooks and harpoons or tie them to boats by the tail, forcing their airholes under water. The dolphins or whales are hauled by truck or dragged over concrete roads by their tails to a nearby warehouse for butchering; those who are still alive are stabbed again and left to die of their injuries or bleed to death, some even drown in their own blood.
The killing of dolphins is often witnessed by representative of Japanese is often witnessed sometimes even assisted by representatives of Japanese dolphinariums, including trainers and veterianarians. The dolphinarims attend the hunts to buy showable d0lphins for their own use or for sale to amusement parks in other parts of Asia and Europe. The hunters make significant sums of money from these sales; a single dolphin can fetch more than $150,000.