The Cove Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the The Cove script is here for all you fans of the dolphin documentary. This puppy is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of the movie to get the dialogue. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and all that jazz, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. At least you'll have some The Cove quotes (or even a monologue or two) to annoy your coworkers with in the meantime, right?

And swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards -- because reading is good for your noodle. Better than Farmville, anyway.

The Cove Script

I do want to say that we
try to do the story legally.


I thought of all the possibilities
of what could happen,

and it kept me up at night.

The story that Ric
showed me at the beginning

was just the tip of the iceberg.

Here it is... the town of Taiji.

The little town
with a really big secret.

It's funny driving into Taiji.

It's kind of like The Twilight Zone.

It's so bizarre

because if you didn't know
what's going on over here,

you would think this is a town
that loved dolphins and whales.

On our left here is the infamous
Taiji Whale Museum.

And I really, really
hate this place.

When we first got to Japan,

Ric O'Barry was incredibly frustrated.

He said, "Oh, you have
to wear a mask.

Otherwise, they'll know
that we're here."

And I thought, okay, all right.

There's the police.

I've got to hunch over
and change my shape

so they think
I'm just some old Japanese guy.

I thought, you know, what am I doing?

I went halfway across the world
to end up in this car,

locked up with this paranoid guy.

Somebody's behind me.

I don't know who that is.

Yep. He's coming. He's coming.

Is he really?

Yeah. I've been doing this too long.

The mayor of this town
actually gave me the key to the city.

I was welcome then.

Today they'd kill me if they could.

And I'm not exaggerating.

If these fishermen could
catch me and kill me,

they would.

About three years ago,

my friend Jim Clark and I
started this organization...

The Oceanic Preservation Society, OPS.

We've been diving for over 35 years,

and you could go back to the same
dive spot year after year

and literally see
the degradation of the oceans

before your very eyes.

There's major extinctions
going on right now in our lifetime.

Jim had the idea

to try to do something
about it, to stop this,

so I began documenting
reefs around the world.

I went to a marine mammal conference
down in San Diego.

There was 2,000 of the world's
top marine mammal scientists,

and Ric O'Barry was supposed
to be the keynote speaker,

and at the last minute,

the sponsor of the program
pulled him from the ticket.

I thought, oh God, that's interesting.

Well, who's the sponsor?

They said, "Sea World."

A lot of marine mammal
scientists get their money

from Hub Research Institute,

which is the nonprofit arm of Sea World.

They don't like me.

They don't like my message
about captivity,

and they took me off the list.

They wouldn't let me
talk about this dolphin slaughter in Taiji.

I said, "Dolphin slaughter?
What's... What's that about?"

He says, "Well, I'm going next week.

You want to come?"

Now we're approaching the area
that's most important.

That's a dolphin's
worst nightmare right there.

Hundreds of thousands
of dolphins have died there.

You'll see the signs...
"Keep Out," "Danger."

There are fishermen walking
around these hills with knives.

This is a national park.

The fishermen told me.

They said, "If the world finds out
what goes on here,

we'll be shut down."

Can you imagine that?

They actually told us that.

We knew to get in there
and film exactly what happens.

We need to know the truth.

When we got back to the hotel...

It's a big spa hotel,

people going by in robes,

and there's these three
undercover cops talking to Ric.



- No.
- No?


In the background,

you could see these dolphin boats
going by in the window,

and it was just... it was so surreal.

I couldn't... I wanted to laugh,

and I wanted to scream
at the same time.

No. No.

Right. I know.


I don't enter. No, no.

Thank you so much, and...

You're welcome.

- See you again.
- Okay. Bye-bye.

I never planned
on being an activist.

One thing leads to another,

and now if there's
a dolphin in trouble

anywhere in the world,

my phone will ring.

Ric is world famous
for his work with dolphins.

The first time I connected
with him in recent years

was on a trip down to Nicaragua.

There were two dolphins

in a swimming pool filled
with their own excrement.

Ric somehow enlisted
the military forces of Nicaragua.

The dolphins were
put on a helicopter,

and then out to sea we go,

and the dolphins are released.

We're going to capture these dolphins
out of the wild

and bring them into captivity.

There are people
who will set them free.

In March of this year,

O'Barry was arrested
three times in Florida

for trying to free some captive dolphins.

On Earth Day, he was
arrested for the same thing

on the Island of Bimini.

How many times
have you been arrested?

This year?

Swimmer, you're within
a government-authorized test area.

You are holding up
a government project.

Do you understand?

God damn it.

A dolphin in the right spot
can make a million dollars a year.

There's a lot of money in it.

If you get in their way...

and I get in their way...

it can be very, very dangerous.

Jane Tipson, she was murdered.

She's the second colleague
I've worked with that was murdered.

The other one was Jenny May.

We were trying to stop
the traffic in Russian dolphins,

and it involved a hunger strike.

About the tenth day, I passed out,

and I went to a hospital there,

so Jenny became a target,

and they followed her
down the beach

and strangled her with her own belt.

These dolphins are symbolic
of a new day for the environment.

It's all about respect now,
not exploitation.

I feel somewhat responsible

because it was the Flipper TV series

that created this
multi-billion-dollar industry.

It created this desire
to swim with them and kiss them

and hold them and hug them
and love them to death,

and it created all these captures.

There were five female dolphins

who collectively played
the part of Flipper.

I captured the five dolphins myself.

The entire crew turns to
with battle station teamwork.

When the porpoise is sighted,

not a moment can be lost.

The men handle this creature
with infinite care.

She seems to sense
that she has come home,

that no harm will come to her now.

She is safe.

When I started training dolphins,
there was no manual.

I would get the script,

and it says "Flipper goes over
to the dock "and picks up the gun

and then swims down left to right."

I had to actually translate that
into action somehow.

Thanks, Flipper.

Yeah. Thanks, Flipper.

The thing that really struck me

was that they're smarter
than we think they are.

The house that you see
on the Flipper set

where the family lives

was actually my house.

I lived there all year round
for seven years.

And right in front of the house

there was a lake, salt water lake,

and that's where Flipper was
at the end of the dock.

When Flipper came on television
at Friday night at 7:30,

I would take my television
set from the house

and go down the end of the dock

with a long extension cord,

and Cathy would watch
herself on television,

and she could tell the difference
between herself and Suzy,

who was another Flipper
dolphin that was used.

I knew then they were self-aware,

and when you become conscious
of this nonhuman intelligence,

you realize after a while
they don't really belong in captivity.

But I didn't do anything about it.

One day, it all ended.

Like the props, they went
back to the Miami Seaquarium.

When you just walk into this place
and the music is playing,

the dolphin is jumping and smiling,

it's hard to see the problem.

But a dolphin's smile
is nature's greatest deception.

It creates the illusion
they're always happy.

The nerve center of any dolphinarium
is the fish house.

And if you go to any one
of these fish houses,

you'll see bottles
of Maalox and Tagamet.

And they're used
because dolphins get ulcers,

because they're all stressed out.

You have to see them in the wild

to understand
why captivity doesn't work.

In the wild, they're traveling
40 miles a day.

They could be surfing
in one area in the morning,

and the next hour
they could be 25 miles away

feeding or socializing.

Dolphins are acoustic creatures.

That's their primary sense.

The best sonar that man has

is a toy compared
to the dolphins' sonar.

When you're in the water,

the dolphins can see
right through you.

They can see your heart beating.

They can see your bones.

They can see if you're pregnant.

They get a lot of information
with their sound.

The dolphin is captured
and put in a concrete tank

surrounded by a stadium
full of screaming people.

At the National Aquarium in Baltimore,

when it first opened,
dolphins were dying left and right.

They couldn't keep dolphins alive,

and they finally figured out

it's because the filtration system
was making a lot of noise.

It's the stress that kills them.

So they're very sensitive to sound.

That's their primary sense,

and that's their downfall in Taiji.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...

There's 12 of them.

This is a classic drive,

what you're watching here.

There are migratory routes

that dolphins have been using
for thousands of years,

and they just wait
till the dolphins come by.

The boats then put these
long poles in the water

which have a flange on the bottom,

and they just bang on these poles
with hammers,

and they create a wall of sound
which frightens the dolphins.

There were several hundred dolphins
being driven ashore.

I'd never seen so many
dolphins before,

and they were all
running for their lives,

running from this wall of sound.

I think I can actually
hear the banging,

but I hear it all the time.

I hear it in my sleep.

That sound never goes away
once you hear it.

By the time they get to the lagoon,

they're totally freaked out,
stressed out to the max.

They seal it, then they go home.

The next morning,

all of these dolphin trainers
will be lined up

selecting the ones that they want
for the dolphinariums.

They're looking for bottlenose
dolphin, primarily.

They're looking for Flipper,

and so they collect young females,

just like we did for the Flipper show.

And they're flown to different
parts of the world.

I could have my own dolphin facility
somewhere in the Caribbean

and be making 2 or million dollars a year

like these guys, if I wanted to.

But I walked away from that.

The thing that turned me around

was the death of Flipper, of Cathy.

She was really depressed.
I could feel it.

I could see it.

And she committed suicide in my arms.

That's a very strong word, suicide.

But you have to understand

dolphins and other whales
are not automatic air breathers,

like we are.

Every breath they take
is a conscious effort.

And so they can end their life

whenever life becomes too unbearable

by not taking the next breath.

And it's in that context
I use the word suicide.

She did that.

She swam into my arms

and looked me right in the eye

and... took a breath...

and didn't take another one.

I just let her go,

and she sank straight down on her belly
to the bottom of the tank.

The next day, I was in the Bimini jail

for trying to free a dolphin
at the Lerner Marine Laboratory.

That's how I reacted to it.

I was going to free
every captive dolphin I could.

I spent ten years
building that industry up.

And I spent the last 35 years
trying to tear it down.

When I started out,
there were only three dolphinariums.

Today it's become
a multi-billion-dollar industry.

In all of these captures,

we helped create the largest slaughter
of dolphins on the planet.

Anyone can watch the capture process
go on from the road.

But Ric pointed out

where they take the boats
around to the secret cove

that nobody could see
where dolphins that weren't selected

are slaughtered and sold for their meat.

Here in Taiji,

you can go to the Whale Museum
and watch the dolphin show

and eat a dolphin at the same time.

They sell dolphin and whale meat
right in the dolphinarium.

It's the captivity industry
that keeps this slaughter going

by rewarding the fishermen
for their bad behavior.

They only get $600 for a dead dolphin,

but they can get more than $150,for a live show dolphin.

I told Ric
that I'd help him out,

that we'll fix this, we'll change this.

And I didn't tell him how

because I really didn't know
how we were going to do it.

There are lots of groups
here in Japan...

World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace,

International Fund
for Animal Welfare.

They all make hundreds
of millions of dollars between them.

This is the largest slaughter
of dolphins in the world.

Where are they?

There is one organization

whose sole purpose is to protect
all cetaceans in the wild.

That's the IWC...

the International Whaling Commission.

But for some reason,

small cetaceans, dolphins
and porpoises, aren't protected.

Dolphins are whales.

Size doesn't matter.

The IWC will go down in history
as a ship of fools.

There's no...
There's no democracy here

by any stretch of the imagination.

They do whatever the hell
they want to do.

Mr. O'Barry, you know I'm here.


I have to ask you to leave the hotel.

You could have waited
till morning, but...

Sir, I asked you very nicely
to turn off your camera.

The reason why small cetaceans
are not popular with the IWC

is because the whaling nations
that set this thing up

clearly has the best interest
in leaving those out,

particularly if they
happen to be eating them.

Joji Marshita is the Deputy
Commissioner for Whaling.

He's a talented guy from Japan
with a real hard job to do.

He has to get up every day.

First he'll look at himself in the mirror,

and then he's got to go out

and explain to the world
Japan's whaling policy.

Very complicated subject to get around.

It's clear the issue of whaling

is becoming more of emotions.

We have never
had a convincing reason

why this species is so special.

The International
Whaling Commission

is the only international body
dealing with whales

that's officially recognized
by the United Nations.

It's basically
a toothless organization,

but it is the only
organization that does exist.

Well, there's a clause

in the International
Whaling Convention

that allows a nation
to take whales for science,

and Japan has decided
that that's its loophole.

Currently, Japan
has research programs

that involve killing minke whales,

fin whales, sei whales,
and humpback whales.

Every scientific catch, to me,

is a dark spot on the record
of this commission.

They're talking about
the 1,000 whales in the Antarctic.

They're not talking about

the 23,000 over here
being slaughtered.

The IWC has presided

over one of the greatest

catastrophes of all time.

The reality is the International
Whaling Commission

does have a mandate

to look at issues
affecting dolphins,

but the Japanese are
trying to legitimize a practice

that just about every country
in the world has said no to.

Governments are really great

at getting together
and holding meetings

and conferences
and glad-handing each other,

but they never ever seem
to accomplish anything.

It's as Margaret Mead once said...

never ever depend
upon governments or institutions

to solve any major problem.

All social change comes
from the passion of individuals.

If saving cetacean
species from extinction

relies upon the International
Whaling Commission,

then there is no hope.

During the Greek era,

it was punishable by death
to harm a dolphin.

They were protected,

and they were protected

because there's a lot
of stories throughout history

of dolphins saving the lives of humans.

There's some real magic there
when you're on a wave together.

There's this other species

that you can't consciously
communicate with,

and you're both experiencing a thing

that's purely for joy

beyond the level of survival.

I went surfing
on the east coast of Australia.

About half an hour
into the session,

I was sitting
with this friend of mine,

and he goes, "Wait,"

and on the surface of the next wave
was a tiger shark.

Its fins were down,
and it was in the zone.

This thing was literally
2 meters away from me,

and I look down, and right there...

it's like in a glass case in a wall...

this dolphin comes out of right field

and T-bones this shark

and pushes it directly
away from me and my buddy.

In that moment...

That's the most obvious demonstration
of the connection in my life.

A few years ago,
a friend of mine told me

about what was going on in Japan.

23,000 are being
wiped out every year,

and it's not even acknowledged.

Nobody has actually seen
what takes place back there,

and so the way to stop it
is to expose it.

They've already told us that...

"Don't take pictures."

The sign says "Don't take pictures."

And so the way to stop it
is keep exposing this to the world.

the Japanese government will say

"Look, this is not working.
It's a PR nightmare."

No! No photograph.

I brought the BBC,
The London Times,

Time Magazine,

and everybody
goes away empty-handed.

No photos, okay?

They're afraid of cameras.

One morning I didn't
have my camera,

and a couple guys from the boat,

they took a baby dolphin up
and cut its throat.

It was already dead,
but they held it up and cut its throat,

and they were just
trying to get me angry,

and I almost hit this guy.

He got right in my face.

We called him Private Space.

That's the only two words
he knows in English...

private space.


And he got right in my face,

and he's screaming
at me with a camera.

He wanted me to hit him.

I mean, he just egged me on,

and I almost... man,
I almost decked this guy

and knocked him off that rock.

That's what they want you to do...

hit them or do something
to get you out of here.

The only way they can
get us out of here

is get us arrested and get it on video.

I spend most of my time

trying to keep from getting arrested
on bogus charges.

They spend most of their time

trying to arrest us
on bogus charges

and get us out of the game.

In 2003, I sent a crew to Taiji.

Their objective was to
just get evidence to film

and see what's going on there.

They got into the water
and cut the nets

and released some
pilot whales and dolphins

and were immediately
arrested for that.

Come on!

That actually worked out

to show that we were determined

to protect the lives
of these animals,

but of course it made it
very difficult to return.

In 2007, when I wanted
to do something

to expose the issue,

I was shocked

that I was the only surfer
in my surfing community

that knew about this,

so Hayden Panettiere, Isabel Lucas,

we all connected,
and we made the decision,

okay, we're going to paddle out.

No one's
going to be aggressive.

And they got really fired up.

We had to pull the pin.

There was nothing we could do,

nothing more we could do
in that scenario.

You see, this is like
a cat and mouse game.

Those particular activists,

they were arrested right here
in this very spot.

Now they can never come back.

They're out of the game.

My heart went out to them.

I watched Flipper as a child.

I grew to love the oceans
partly because of Flipper.

We are going to stop this.

We're going to stop this.

And here's the guy that started it all.

He's trying to rectify
this huge problem,

but he can't find
anybody to help him.

If we could just get in there,
we can stop this.

The first guy I called was
my buddy Charles Hambleton.

He's a adrenaline junkie.

He's been sail master on
The Pirates of the Caribbean.

He's traveled all over the world
on photo assignments.

He's the guy that has a heart of gold

and nerves of steel.
He'll do anything.

I remember distinctly a phone call

saying I needed to be in Japan.

We stepped off the train in Taiji,

and we were immediately
met by Ric O'Barry,

along with the police.

I'm not entirely sure

Louis knew what he was
getting himself into.

On our initial trip to Japan,

we had a formal meeting
in the town mayor's office

with the fishing union

and with all the proper authorities.

We spent seven hours
trying to negotiate an arrangement

where we would try to be
respectful of their side.

That was the point to me,
is get both sides.

And we started to realize
that they were hiding something.

You have to get permission
to get a permit

to get permission to do...

and nobody wants to do
anything without permission.

After two days of negotiations,

they said, "We're not
going to let you do it,"

and they put a map on the table

and pointed with these
red X's on the map.

and said, "Don't go here,
don't go here,

don't go here, don't go here."

And then Charles said...

"Could we just hang on
to that for reference,

just so we know where
we're not supposed to be?"

That kind of thing.

And that became sort of our template
of where we had to go.

The secret cove is a natural fortress.

It's surrounded on three sides
by steep cliffs.

There are several tunnels

that you need to get
through to get there.

High fences surrounded
by razor ribbon.

I've traveled all over the world
throughout my entire life,

and the coastline is majestic.

It's astounding to think
that this horror happens

in one of the most beautiful places.

We snuck up to this park.

It was called Tsunami Park.

It was blockaded,
but we went up there.

The only safe time
to go in Tsunami Park

is when there are no
dolphins in the lagoon.

Then there are no guards around.

Ric pointed down
to the secret lagoon,

and he said, "That's
where all the dirty business happens."

The cops were on our tail,

and I thought, let's get out of here.

We'll try to regroup.

So we went off to do
some sightseeing outside Taiji.

All these beautiful
temples are there,

some of the most beautiful
temples in all of Japan.

In one of these temples,
they have a dry rock garden

where the monks rake these rocks,

and in the center
they have these rocks

that people come from all
over the world to contemplate.

It was gorgeous,

but I thought, in America,

people would never go
on a Sunday to watch rocks.

Suddenly I got this idea.

What if the rocks looked back?

This was a big waterfall set

that we constructed
for the movie Evan Almighty.

A dam breaks and floods

and takes the...
washes the road out and...

One of my best friends
and my first assistant

was a guy that became
the head mold maker

at Industrial Light and Magic,

so I called up and said,
"I've got this idea for a project.

"I want to hide
Hi-Def cameras in a rock.

Can you help us?"

Is that what you had in mind?

It's a work of art, man.

We can do all of them
brown if you want,

or we can do a combination
of brown and gray.

I think brown and gray
would be better.

I think this is going
to be a primary for us

that these are all gray.

I would try to keep them

as lower of a profile
as possible because...

We needed a special group of people

to implement this mission.

We needed people with
a special set of skills.

I started to set up this team,

this... sort of this
Ocean's Eleven team.

Simon Hutchins,

the only guy that had
military experience.

Simon created all these weird ways

to hide Hi-Def cameras
and hydrophones.

You know, he's a mad genius.

If we could dream it,
Simon could build it.

Joe Chisolm organized rock concerts,

and we were kind of like
a rock concert...

you know, incognito.

You know, we had hundreds
of cases of material

that we had to import into Japan,

and he did the logistics.

Louis came back, and he said, "Look,

we got to get in,"

and Louis and I started discussing

all of the ways that we can film it.

We had a military grade
thermal camera,

which you're not allowed
to bring out of the country.

If it has a pulse,
the thermal camera picks it up.

One thing that we had decided to do
is get some aerial footage,

so we decided to take
our own helicopter with us.

We looked into, you know,
commandeering a satellite

to do satellite pictures.

We decided to make
our own unmanned drone

with a gyro-stabilized
Hi-Def camera below it.

We actually named it Cathy,

and that was purely
out of respect for Ric O'Barry.

The idea there was

that even if the blimp didn't succeed
and we got caught

that everybody loves a balloon...

you know, kids, police, everyone.

One of these devices
that was very important to Louis and I

is the hydrophone...
high tech sound devices

put in underwater housing.

I wanted to hear
the dolphins from the lagoon,

but we didn't know
how deep it was.

We had rebreathers,

but it would be clanky,
it would be noisy.

Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Kirk Krack

are world class freedivers.

Freediving in its simplest terms,

it's like deep snorkeling.

On one breath we see
how deep we can go in the ocean,

how long we can hold our breath.

Mandy-Rae's owned

eight world championships
in her lifetime.

She can go down to 300 feet
on one breath of air

and come back on her own power.

They got on board pretty quickly

when they found out
what we wanted to do.

We have some of the same
physiological traits

that whales, seals,
and dolphins have.

We're all air-breathing mammals.

They live in the water.
We live on land.

When you're out
swimming in the ocean

and you have whales
and dolphins come by you,

it is one of the most
incredible experiences ever.

It's so humbling that this wild creature

would come up and be
so interested in you.


It's unbelievable, really.

Even though there's
obviously no words spoken,

you really feel like you're on some
level communicating with them,

like there's an understanding
between the two of you.

I don't normally touch
anything in the water,

but I just thought, you know,

it had been swimming
with me for so long,

I put my hand out in front of me,

and it rolled right into my hand,

and it just stayed there
in front of me,

letting me rub its belly.

Here you have this dolphin,

wild and on its own terms,

come up and really
seek out affection and touch.

It really wanted to be with us.

When they asked us

if we wanted to partake
in a secret ops mission

to uncover the dolphin slaughter,

we without hesitation said,
"Absolutely. Sign us up.

What can we do?"

- This is what...

It's so cool.


I'm just a cute little innocent rock.

Getting these into Customs

is going to be the trick, I think, next.

I hope we'll be able
to find them again

once we plant them.

Actually, come back to the hotel
and we have real rocks.

There's 47 suitcases.

I don't think they're going
to let us carry this on.

We definitely were trying
to be as discreet as possible,

but there's nothing discreet
about Westerners

in a place where there are
no Westerners with big black cases,

and it was noted.

Well, now, there's a car here.

Just... I just got here yesterday.

You think... Do you think
they know we're here?

You do?

First morning we arrived in Taiji,

Ric O'Barry met us at our hotel.

He decided that it would
be a good idea

if he'd take us on a tour

so we got the lay of the land.

So we all get in the vehicles,

and one of the first
things we noticed

was that we got an escort.

This is the butcher shop right here,

the slaughterhouse.

This is the union right here,

and there's Private Space.

When we first got in the country,

we had no idea
who was following us.

There was about seven or eight cars
that we had license plates,

so we knew that we were being
followed by these people.

We didn't know
if it was the whalers.

We didn't know if it was Yakuza,
the Japanese Mafia.

We had no idea.

I'd met this guy that spoke English.

He was from
the Whaling Museum,

and I asked him, "Do you know
who's in that car over there?"

He looks over there, and he goes,
"Chief of Police."

If you're around Ric,
they... they know you're trouble.

Our first encounter
with the fishermen

was they went down there
at first break of light,

and as soon as we arrived,

a number of fishermen showed up.

We were down by the beach
looking at...

You could see the blood
coming out of the killing lagoon.

You could see a bunch of the babies

were cordoned off by themselves
away from their parents

while their parents
were all being slaughtered.

And so I wanted to get
a better look into the lagoon,

and as Joe and I tried
to walk down this path,

some of the fishermen came
and actually butted chest against us.

Don't touch the girl.

Trying to stop us

from getting that vantage
point on the killing.

And just after that,

We walked down
to the water's edge,

and this one poor dolphin, it...

You could see it
trying to get away,

and it was swimming
straight for us and the shore,

and it actually made it
over a couple of the nets,

and every time
it came up for a breath,

you could see all this blood
coming out behind it,

and you could see
the last couple of breaths it took,

and then it went down,
and we never saw it again.


It's a relatively small group of people
who are doing this.

Outside these few remote villages,

most of the population
doesn't even know this is going on.

The fishermen here who do this
tell you "This is our tradition.

"This is our culture.

"You don't understand us.

You eat cows.
Well, we eat dolphins."

Well, the truth is that's the big lie.

How can it be their culture, their tradition,

if the Japanese people
don't even know about it?

23,000 dolphins
are killed for meat every year.

You never heard of it?

People in Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo...

the reason they don't know about it

is because of a media cover-up,

a systematic, deliberate cover-up,

a media blackout,

because the dolphin meat
is heavily laced with mercury.

Mercury starts in the environment

with the smallest of organisms,

and every step of the ladder up,

it gets magnified about ten times...

until the top of the food chain,

where you get these
incredibly toxic levels.

All the fish that we love most to eat...

things like striped bass, bluefish,

tuna, swordfish, marlin...

this is a major source of mercury,

and these substances
are causing real problems,

not just to dolphins, but to people,

because people and dolphins feed

at the same level of a food chain.

If you looked at bottlenose dolphins...

that's Flipper, by the way...

you'd discover, in fact,

these animals are swimming
toxic dump sites.

It's better to refrain
from taking those meats...

how do I say?

Too much.

But still dolphin meat
contains some valuable nutrients.

This is a matter

that the consumer affairs
and health ministries are looking after,

and I can assure you
that there is no product on the market

that exceeds any of their standards.

By their standards.

Almost nobody eats dolphin meat,

but 23,000 are slaughtered every year,

so that begs the question,

Where is all this meat going?

Dolphin meat is generally considered
to be a less desirable commodity,

and it would sell for far, far less
if it was properly labeled.

So the meat is distributed
much more widely than we recognize.

Scott Baker set up a portable DNA lab

at a hotel in downtown Tokyo.

We brought him samples,
and he analyzed them

and found that
a lot of the packages

that were labeled
as expensive meat from larger whales

was actually dolphin meat.

A consumer may think
they're buying healthy meat

from whales from
the southern hemisphere,

and they might be getting
a bottlenose dolphin

from the coast of Taiji

with levels of mercury
that are 20 times higher

than World Health
Organization recommendations.

The fishermen
who are eating dolphin

are poisoning themselves,

but they're also poisoning

the people that they're selling it to.

And the government knows this,

and the government's covering this up.

They had this problem
once before in Minamata.

That's where mercury poisoning
was first discovered.

They called it Minamata disease.

Japan has a history
of this terrible Minamata tragedy,

sometimes referred to
as Minamata disease.

But it's not a disease. It's not caught.

It's the result of this toxicity.

The most serious health risk
of these high levels of mercury

is to pregnant women.

It's the fetus that's most sensitive
to these levels of mercury.

The children were
starting to be born deformed.

And it's going to happen again.

Nobody has really looked
into the hospitals,

looked into the records

to see how many people
there have mercury poisoning.

The symptoms are memory loss,

loss of hearing,
loss of your eyesight.

It doesn't just knock you over dead.

It takes a while.

And that's happening.

Does he want to know
if he's poisoning the bodies

of other Japanese
that he's selling the meat to?

He doesn't want to know.

He doesn't want to know about it.

Well, in Minamata,
the government said

they weren't poisoning the people
in Minamata, either.

Remember that?

The Chisso factory?

The Chisso factory?

Same thing, same problem.

You don't think there's
a cover-up going on

with the amount of mercury
in dolphin meat?

I don't think that a similar
tragedy would happen

because of the dolphin meat.

I don't think so.

Ultimately, the dolphin meat

is based on supply and demand
like any other product,

and if that product is poison

and they can't sell it in Taiji,

then they can't sell it in Iwate,

and they can't sell it in Okinawa,

and they can't sell it wherever else
they're selling it.

So you have to stay focused
on that one lagoon in Taiji, I think,

in order to shut this down.

Howdy. How are you doing today?

If we got arrested,
how long before they charged us?

They don't have to
charge you with anything.

The way the law works in Japan,

they can keep you in jail
with no charges for 28 days.

90% of the convictions in Japan

are obtained by confessions
during those 28 days

because they can
torture you legally.

They can wake you up
in the middle of the night,

all night long, you know, and...

I've been doing that to them all week.

That may be aggressive...

Can we prosecute him?

I came to realize

that this was going to be
a much longer process,

so we utilized our time over there
doing reconnaissance, planning.

We observed.

There's two crews
that went in last night...

the guys that come
out of the tunnel.

They're sent to look on the left side.

They shine their flashlights.
They go pretty quick

because they want
to get to work and start out.

What they're doing is looking
for little snap branches.

They normally go up there

when they have dolphins
in the lagoon.

They go up and see if anybody's
photographed them.

What I'm thinking
is we go in there.

Maybe I use that location
that has a branch,

and I cut the branch on a night
when there's no dolphins.

There was two parts to the mission.

The first one was to get
the auditory experience.

Where can we drop a big
housing skull like this

with arms sticking out?
Let's try getting that.

We could plant hydrophones
on the side of the lagoon

that was easiest to get into.

It's a lot easier getting down
the left side of the lagoon.

The right side is right in the center
of the killing cove.

I go first with the thermal camera.

I can tell if there's
any movement over there.

If they're hiding in the bushes,

they're going to be popping out.

So the hydrophone was
sort of a trial run

to see if we could get away with it.

You guys go in with two cameras, right?

Three cameras.

The second mission,

what we call the full orchestra.

Let's go, then, with three cameras...

you're 2, you're 1...

and think about fourth.

We would plant all the rocks,

the hydrophones, underwater cameras.

They have scuba divers,
so they just sweep.

They're straining the bottom of that bay,

so we don't want them to
pick up underwater cameras.

Once you get right here, you're safe.

This is the first sign
that says "Do not enter."

- We don't know what it says.
- "Danger."

We have no idea.

It says "Welcome to Taiji"
for all we know.

"Enjoy our wonderful UNESCO site."

I wanted to have
a three-dimensional experience

with what's going on in that lagoon.

I wanted to hear everything
that the dolphins were doing,

everything that the whalers were saying.

The effort wasn't just
to show the slaughter.

You want to capture something
that will make people change.

This weekend, the thin, mournful cry
of the humpback whale

echoed through London's
Trafalgar Square,

as thousands of demonstrators

demanded an end to all whale killing.

In the 1960s,

when the IWC wasn't doing anything

about the slaughter of large whales,

there was one guy, Roger Payne,

who helped start the whole
Save the Whale movement

by exposing to the world

that these animals were singing.

That was profound.

What do we want?

Save the whales!

When do we want it?

Save the Whale demonstrators
were out again today.

And they are determined to see
that something be done about it.

At the time, about 33,000 whales
a year were being killed.

We got it down eventually
to about 330, 1% of that amount.

It's now going back up again.

There has to be a new generation
that takes over from here.

There's only so many Ric O'Barrys
and Roger Paynes.

They're all in their 60s and 70s now,

and there's not a lot
of people out there

picking up where they've left off.

I like this.

It sinks very slowly, this line.

It does sink, but it's very slow,

so I just put a couple weights on it.

We're going to have these two
hydrophones connected to it.

- One thing, though.
- Yeah.

I took all the other stickers off, see?

Go on the...

"Please return dry."

Yeah, let's take the sticker off.

Okay? Jesus.

(03) 3224-5000.

That's the cell phone number
for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo

as well as the cell phone numbers
of our other two phones,

just in case something shits the bed.

When we very discreetly
leave the hotel room

with four or five guys
dressed in black

with camera equipment,

we have it timed really well.

We know when the guard turns up.

We know how far the cop
is going to be behind us.

We know how long
it takes the cops

to get from the next village there.

It was probably
the scariest night of my life

because we'd been up
many days in a row

preparing for this.

We're exposed out there.

There's very few places we could hide.


Here you go.

Come on. Let's go. Go.

Holy Christ.

Nice work.


100% of the people in the vehicle?

It's a good night.

That's a good night.


I don't know.

I don't know.

Not me.

At midnight, I'm sleeping.

I don't know.

I cannot speak for OPS.

I can only speak for Ric O'Barry.

I cannot speak
for anybody except myself.

At midnight, I'm sleeping.

No, no, no.

I don't know.

I'm not OPS.

I'm not OPS, no.

Well, I do interviews.

Anybody who wants to talk to me,

- I will talk to them.
- Yes?

OPS wants to talk to me,
I talk to them.

I talk to anybody
about mercury poisoning.

- Thank you.
- Okay.

Thank you so much for your time.

- Bye-bye.
- Bye-bye.

I think the most horrifying thing
about the whole dive that night

was that, you know,
you could hear them

communicating with each other,

and you knew that that next morning
that would be the end of it.

They'd be silenced forever.

They're always trying
to communicate with us,

and that's hard to explain,

but when you live with them

like I did on the Flipper TV show
day and night,

I could read that body language.

There's something visceral

about being in the water
with an animal like this.

As a scientist,

I'm trained to recognize intelligence
through objective measures...

tool use, cognitive processes,
and so on.

As a human being,

when I see a dolphin looking at me
and his eyes tracking me

and I lock eyes with that animal,

there's a human response
that makes it undeniable

that I'm connecting
with an intelligent being.

Science has been tantalized for years
at the prospect of talking

to the most intelligent
creatures on earth,

which may not be human beings.

A small group of scientists

determined to see
if humans and dolphins

can learn to talk to each other.

We keep spending billions of dollars
for sending signals up into the sky,

and we have a species here

that can conceivably be
more intelligent than we are.

Dolphins can understand
how to manipulate situations,

how to relate to people,

how to create innovatively
out of their own imagination.

It sometimes amazes me

that the only language

which has been extensively
taught to dolphins

is a version of
American Sign Language,

which, of course,
you use your hands,

so you have
all these wonderful signals,

and people use their hands
to give messages to dolphins.

And this somehow
kind of misses the point

because dolphins don't have hands,

so this is inherently
a very one-way process.

And it's this anthropomorphic

"We have something
to teach them or control them,"

and perhaps we ought to be looking
at what they can give to us.

It's not about intelligence.

It's about consciousness.

They are self-aware,
like humans are self-aware.

That means that we look in the mirror,

and we know exactly
what we're looking at.

I don't believe that the fishermen
here are aware of that.

When they're in that killing cove

and their babies are being
slaughtered in front of them,

they're aware of that.

They can anticipate
what's going to happen to them.

The first time I went to Taiji
was in 1980,

and I had been to Iki the year before.

Iki is a tourist destination for Japanese

which became infamous

for this... most ghastly
slaughters of dolphins.

I mean, literally thousands of them
would... could be killed in a day.

Well, I went back to Iki
about three years ago,

and they don't have any dolphins,

where once they had thousands of them
streaming by the coast.

Irony of ironies.

Because the international
captivity trade is so lucrative,

they want to be in on it,

and they don't have any dolphins.

They have to have dolphins
for their dolphin parks,

so they go buy them in Taiji now.

Every cetacean known to man
is endangered

just by going anywhere near Japan.

We asked the Taiji fishermen
if we could subsidize this activity...

in other words, if you leave the boats
tied up at the dock,

we'll pay you the same amount of money

you would have made
killing dolphins in Taiji.

They got back to us and said
"It's not about money.

It's about pest control."

Pest control.

In other words,

they're being told by the government

that the dolphin are
eating too much fish in the ocean.

This is not attempt
just to incriminate whales as a bad guy.

However, we cannot ignore
the fishing effort has been decreasing.

It's seriously hard to take that
PowerPoint demonstration seriously.

I have to tell you
that there is very strong evidence

that whales are consuming
huge quantities of fish

that are also the target of fisheries.

The Government of Brazil
wants to put on record

that to us it certainly amounts

to what only can be described
as biological nonsense.

It is clear that the fisheries
of the world are on decline,

and the obvious culprit is people,

and we don't want to acknowledge that.

We look at the ocean
as a source of infinite quality seafood,

and I think we're learning
some hard lessons

that this isn't true.

We're pulling the fish
out of the ocean at such a rate

and eroding and diminishing
our marine ecosystems

so bad that the whole
thing could collapse.

70% of human beings,
seven out of ten people,

rely as their principal
protein on seafood.

If we lose access to fish in the sea,

we will be causing
the biggest public health problem

human beings have ever faced.

The Japanese literally control
the world marketplace in fish.

They have buyers in every
major port in the world.

They're catching their fish
from an ever-depleting supply,

and I think they have a real fear
that they will run out of food.

What more logical thing could they do
than catch whales to replace them?

International Whaling Commission
is essentially killing

coastal small-type
whaling communities like Taiji.

This body should seriously consider
the proposal that is before us.

Dominica would like to compliment
the Japanese delegation.

We strongly support the proposal.

Antigua and Barbuda
supports this declaration in its entirety.

Do we have any concern, any sympathy

for the plight of the people of Japan?

This is an opportunity to help Japan.

We could help the Japanese cause
and the people of Taiji.

We therefore urge this IWC to grant...

...their basic request
for them to engage in whaling.

And therefore, St. Kitts and Nevis
support this proposal.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In my opinion, this has
been sufficient enough time

to allow for the replenishment
of species... of certain species...

which were in decline

and some others which were
nearing extinction.

There are several facets in the interests
out of Antigua in whaling.

First of all, the government

is presently interested
in the whaling commission

because the Japanese government's
paying them to be interested.

The Japanese government
and their agencies

go to small bankrupt nations

and offer them financial support,

offer them whatever it takes,

firstly to get them to join the IWC

and then, when they get here,
to vote for Japan.

This is how whaling
in the 21st century works.

What kind of whales
pass through Antigua?

We have...

I think the Commissioner might be...

I think there's
some humpback whales...

- Yes.
...that pass through Antigua.

I'm not sure of the details

of the whales that pass
through Antigua

at this point in time,
but there are whales

that pass through our waters
from time to time.

I have seen only...

My only interaction with whales
are what I see on television.

It is so transparent to even the least
perspicacious onlooker

that they have prostituted themselves
for a few yen.

The Japanese government
pays our fees, our annual fees,

for participation in the International
Whaling Commission.

It has nothing to do with nutrition.

It simply has to do with the fact
that "You voted for us,

"so let's give you something
that you people can see

"that it was worth your while
to sell your vote to us...

fisheries complexes."

the fisheries complexes built by Japan

have already gone into disuse

because it has nothing to do with fishing.

One neighbor got the goodies,

and every other neighbor
wants a part of the goodies.

Every island
in the Eastern Caribbean...

St. Kitts, Antigua,
St. Vincent., St. Lucia,

Grenada, Dominica...

we all have the same goodies.

In Dominica, we have a $22 million
fisheries complex

which is used for the local merchants
to store imported chicken.

It's very sad to see the beautiful
islands in the Caribbean

becoming neon-lit whorehouses
for the Japanese.

It really runs counter to logic

why the Japanese continue

to keep this dying
whaling business going,

especially when you get the facts

about the levels of mercury

and other contaminants
in the meat.

I visited Japan earlier this year,

and I discovered that there
was another peculiar reason

for the Japanese position
at the IWC.

This has not got to do
with economics.

it hasn't even got to do with politics.

It really has to do with the...

the remnants
of a traditional notion of empire.

They had had enough of the West

telling them what to do
and how to do it and when to do it.

"Well, you're not going to make us
stop killing whales."

There's some kind of misplaced
nationalistic pride at work.

It's an industry that is
massively subsidized

by Japanese taxpayers,

and when you have those sorts
of subsidies in place,

you invite corruption.

In order to perpetuate
this cultural argument,

the Taiji dolphin hunters

started giving
the dolphin meat away free

to the school system.

They're getting this
in a form of propaganda.

They're not being told

that the free lunchmeat
that their children are getting

are contaminated
with high levels of mercury.

Are you aware
of the Mayor of Taiji's plan

to distribute dolphin meat
throughout Japan

to Japanese children?

I think you...
correctly misunderstood.

Did I?

You perfectly misunderstood.

Two city council members
came out on record.

They risked their...

if not their lives,
their livelihood to speak out.

There's a saying in Japan

that says the nail that sticks out
must be pounded down,

and so it's a real problem

just to stand up
and be counted in Japan.

There's no environmental movement
working actively on this issue

that has any kind
of power at all in that country.

We are dumping in the environment

all kinds of chemicals
like mercury, cadmium, lead.

We have the obligation...

We have a moral authority
to do something about it.

In a few years,

we may look back
and wonder what we did,

allowing more and more tons
of meat to be consumed.

We have a moral obligation,

and let it not be said
that you didn't know about it.

You know about it.

To me, you're either an activist
or an inactivist,

and I wanted to be active.

I wanted to stop this.

I recognize it. Do you?

8335. Yeah, I do recognize it.

I think it was the double
channels. Yep.

Can you go straight?

They're doing a circle.

Let's take a quick break.

Quick, quick, quick, quick.

- It's 766. It's the cop.
- Is it?

Louie, Louie, are you there?

Yeah, that's cool.

Set it down.

There was kind of a collective horror
when we started to see the footage.

It was mind-boggling.

They're doing it exactly

like they did with the large whales.

they're slaughtering
every one they can get.

Why didn't they set them free?

That question has kept me
awake for a long time.

I've watched them give birth.

I've nursed them back to health
when they're sick.

Had I known what I know now,

I would have raised enough money

to buy them away
from the Seaquarium

and set them free.

That would have been
the right thing to do.

I was buying
a new Porsche every year.

But I was as ignorant as I could be
for as long as I could be.

I didn't think about that
for a long time later.

Listen to me.

Our killing method
has been improved substantially,

and the fishermen in Taiji

are using specific-made knife

and put the... do that...
to the spine,

and then most of the animals
are killed instantly.

- Killed instantly?
- Yes.

And if they were killed
other than this method,

would that be cruel?

As I told you, I don't want to talk
about "if" stories.

I want to show you
some video that I just saw.

When and where did you take this?

I have to see this end in my lifetime.

Right now I'm focusing
on that one little body of water

where that slaughter takes place.

If we can't stop that,
if we can't fix that,

forget about the bigger issues.

There's no hope.

Everyone there,
show us your passport.

Hey. How are you?

Nice to see you.

So we went for...
for the children, you see.

Special thanks to SergeiK.