Japan's infamous 'Cove' may become marine park, but dolphin slaughter to continue

The Japanese town that gained notoriety for its annual dolphin hunt, through the Academy Award-winning documentary "The Cove," is considering a plan to turn its local bay into a pool where visitors can swim with whales and dolphins, Jiji Press reported.

The plan, thought up by local residents of Taiji, would see black whales and dolphins caught in waters near the town and then released into the giant 70-acre marine park.

"We've never heard of such an attempt elsewhere," a Japanese Fisheries Agency official told the news agency.

Officials also say there would be the possibility of making the park a center for whale research and providing information to visitors about the Japanese whaling industry.

But the development of the marine park on a section of the cove infamous for its annual dolphin slaughter is not likely to pacify activists.

A town official, who declined to be named, told AFP by telephone that the town "is no way going to stop" its annual dolphin hunt, adding local residents see no contradiction in both watching and eating dolphins.

The cove is the scene of an annual slaughter when the fishermen of Taiji corral dolphins, select a few dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks, and stab the rest to death for meat, turning the sea red.