TAIJI, Japan, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Activists say they are turning their attention to the centuries-old harvest of dolphins and small whales off the cost of Taiji, Japan.
Former U.S. federal agent Scott West, leader of a team of Sea Shepherd activists, monitors the hunt of about 2,000 dolphins in the Taiji cove.
"They now use a technique called pithing and this is where they will drag dolphins by their tails up onto the rocky beach in the shallow cove area and drive a steel rod down through their spine," West told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. The area was the subject of the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove.
The team observes the practice every morning to remind hunters that their activities are being watched. They are greeted by police, who are stationed there each morning at the request of locals who are fed up with the activists, the broadcaster said.
Town councilor Hisato Ryono is also against the hunting of dolphins, because their meat has been shown to be poisonous.
"I read that the council would use the dolphin meat for school lunches," he said. "So I did some tests of the meat and it was found that the mercury level in the dolphin exceeded the safe level."
"They're poisoning themselves, they're poisoning their children -- it's insane, "said West.