My introduction to dolphins occurred when I was living in Okinawa. I was twelve years old, traveling by myself by bus on the island, and came upon a bay full of dolphins and pilot whales. Except this was not the joyful discovery that you might think. This was Nago Bay, and the dolphins were being netted and speared to death by fishermen. It was a horrific sight, seeing the bay full of blood and carnage.
My emotions and mind were overpowered by the sight I was seeing, and I felt like I went into shock. I felt emotionally blunted by witnessing this event, and had a hard time feeling things emotionally for many years. In my struggle to understand this, I read everything I could find about whales and dolphins. I discovered Dr. John Lilly’s books, which explored communication between man and dolphin. I found a copy of Joan McIntyre’s Mind in the Waters, a book that celebrates the consciousness of whales and dolphins.
I began to realize that one of the reasons I felt so impacted by witnessing the killing of the dolphins and pilot whales. These were conscious beings, with intelligence similar to ours, and with every right to exist peacefully in their water world. I began to see this injustice as interspecies warfare!
As time progressed, the world saw pictures of a similar scene at Eicke Island, in the Pacific Ocean. Then, more recently through the eyes of the activists that brought us The Cove, the expose of the dolphin killings at Tajii Bay, Japan. The public became aware that fisherman were killing dolphins in tuna nets, through the efforts of Earth Island Institute, EarthTrust, GreenPeace, The Dolphin Network and others. Efforts were made to educate the public that the process of fishermen “setting on dolphins”, to net the tuna was killing a huge number of dolphins.