January 20, 2014 - The annual dolphin hunt
became controversial internationally after the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove
detailed dolphin hunting practices in Japan. Taiji
is a Pacific coast town of about 3,200 in Higashimuro district, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, about 50 miles south of Osaka.
officials issued a statement accusing environmentalists of "psychological harassment" and saying Taiji fishermen "are just conducting a legal fishing activity in their traditional way in full accordance with regulations and rules under the supervision of both the national and prefectural governments," according to United Press International.
Dolphins, a campaign that's part of the Earth Island Institute
- a non-profit organization promoting conservation - is also calling for an end to the hunt, providing updates from Taiji Cove on its website and a link to a petition urging an end to dolphin hunting off the coast of Japan.
The hunt has caused outrage to spread on social media, with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
-- which has been live-streaming footage from the cove each day -- asking users to use the hashtag #tweet4taiji to raise awareness. Other hashtags gaining traction include #HelpCoveDolphins and #tweet4dolphins.
On Sunday, William Shatner tweeted "#deplorable" with a link to media coverage of the hunt.
Actress Kirstie Alley tweeted Saturday evening: "Dear Japan, how could such a stunning, brilliant, gorgeous country allow the bloody injustices of THE COVE? Please reign in your murderers."