Valley activist keeps up fight against dolphin hunt

Comox Valley activist Tarah Millen documented the annual dolphin hunt in Japan for the third time, and said she’ll go every year until it stops.

Millen fundraised in the Valley to go to Taiji, Japan in early November to act as a Cove Guardian.

“I won’t stop fighting for their lives until they can swim freely,” said Millen in an e-mail. “If I let myself think of what I’ve seen, dolphins being gutted alive, babies attempting to swim free only to be dragged back in and stabbed to death, I can easily become overwhelmed.”

Millen said when she watched The Cove, a 2009 Oscar award-winning documentary about the dolphin hunt in Taiji, she wanted to stop the fishing practice.

Now, she said the number of dolphins killed per year has been halved, partly due to international pressure on the Japanese government over the past few years. Calls to embassies and consulates around the world have resulted in the release of many dolphins, according to Millen.

She also said that Cove Guardians have made the task harder for the fishermen, which could have contributed to the decline in dolphin deaths.

Fishermen have “had to work very slowly, as they have strategic tarps covering every square inch of their dirty deeds,” said Millen. “They’re not nearly as efficient as they once were.”

During this trip, Millen said her money and identity were stolen on the way to Japan. However, the funds donated by Comox Valley residents were stored in a different compartment of her luggage so she was able to continue to Taiji.

After a week there, Millen and her partner Ryan Hughes met up in Sydney, Australia to help prepare one of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s vessels for its trip to Antarctica to fight whaling.

They worked doing physical labour on the boat for about five weeks before it departed. They had planned to go with the SSCS to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary when it went down to Antarctica. However, they were short on funds so they started bicycling throughout Australia and working on farms to save money for their next advocacy endeavour.

Millen said she is unsure when they will come back to the Comox Valley, but they already know what they will focus their efforts on when they do return.

For more information on their adventures visit

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