The quest to protect the fate of vulnerable dolphins has taken a bizarre turn in Japan. A Sea Shepherd volunteer has been recently arrested after trying to capture the transfer of a dolphin on camera, in Taiji.
Erwin Vermeulen, actively involved in the Cove Guardians project, was charged with assault late last year, by the Japanese Police, and he is currently preparing to appear before a court on January 26th, in Wakayama City, Los Angeles Times
At this point in time, the activist is held at the Shingu detention center and prevented from making any statements. Authorities managed to confiscate all the cameras, photos and cell phones used by all three crew members, from their hotel. After erasing all the compromising information, they simply returned the devices to their rightful owners.
Sea Shepherd activists are now launching a disturbing accusation, suggesting the Japanese police are using their influence to crumble their mission.
Moreover, Sea Shepherd crew members have indicated that Vermeulen's arrest wasn't justifiable, since he didn't break any laws while he was trying to film the dolphins, in an attempt to show how these creatures were treated.
“Erwin did not break any laws for filming.He did cross a temporary barricade at the Dolphin Resort Hotel and was escorted out of the temporary restricted area by Wakayama prefecture police. He was given a warning.[..]The police jumped on this opportunity and arrested Erwin for simple assault,” explained Scott West, a Cove Guardian volunteer involved in the same project for Los Angeles Times.
In most of the cases, dolphins are gathered in a small bay. Some of them are conveniently sold to important hotels or marine parks, while the rejected ones are killed.
These facts are revealed by a highly appreciated, Oscar-winning documentary, entitled 'The Cove,' introduced in 2009, which is criticizing Japan's dolphin hunting tradition and unsustainable fishing practices.