Japan has resumed hunting for dolphins and smaller whales off the village of Taiji in Wakayama prefecture.
On Wednesday, the first fishermen set out in the whaling village to begin the hunt, which is expected to last until March, according to animal rights activists.
As soon as they spot dolphins near the coast, they round them up in a bay.
To do this, the fishermen distort the animals’ sense of direction by hammering on metal rods held in the sea.
The most beautiful specimens are sorted out on behalf of aquariums at home and abroad, while the rest are slaughtered in a neighbouring bay.
Japanese dolphin fishermen have repeatedly rejected western claims that the practice is cruel.
In recent years, the number of dolphins and small whales hunted in Japan has fallen sharply, advocacy group Pro Wildlife said last year.
The organization has been calling for an end to hunting in Japan for years, even if far more dolphins are now being hunted in other countries, for example in Peru, Nigeria, Brazil or India.dp