A few years ago I watched this movie that was an eye opener for me. That movie was The Cove (2009). If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it, as the topic is still current today.

The cast of The Cove

I got interested in the movie, because I saw 2 familiar names on the film poster: Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Kirk Krack. Mandy Rae is a World famous, World record free diver, who also happened to be the one who taught me how to dive. (She was my teacher for my PADI certification which I got in the Cayman Islands).

Kirk and her worked with David Blaine in helping him to hold his breath for his record he did on Oprah. And in 2009, together with a team of activists, they went to Japan, to unveil the truth of what really happens in Taiji”

The Cove storyline

The story starts with Ric O’Barry, who was the trainer of famous dolphin Flipper. For years he didn’t think much about it, and enjoyed training dolphins. Then he started to realize that keeping dolphins in captivity is wrong. “Dolphins are very smart, and are very aware of what is happening to them. Some become depressed or even commit suicide when kept in captivity” He says. But the damage had been done: Everybody in the World loved Flipper, and zoo’s and aquariums worldwide wanted one of their own. The capturing and trading of dolphins becomes big business.

Dolphins in captivity

During the 35 years after his realization, Ric has been trying to fight people to capture Dolphins in nature, and selling them for enormous amounts to different places in the world. If that dolphin was lucky I must say, because the ones that aren’t lucky, are killed. The killings they show in the movie are terrible to watch….

Besides that the killings are bad, the flesh of dolphins also contains many, many times more the allowed amount of Mercury, and is therefore toxic for people to eat. So eating it, is not a great idea either.

Taiji Japan

One place Ric says where that happens, and in his opinion is the core of the problem, is The Cove. The Cove is in a little place called Taiji in Japan, and is a small bay, in which dolphins are caught by using sounds to throw off their sonar system. The good ones are sold for about 150.000 dollars, the “bad” ones, all of them, are killed for about 600 dollars per dolphin.

Together with a team of camera crew, free divers (Mandy-Rae and Kirk) and other activists, they try to uncover the truth of the Cove. That is not easy because nobody that is involved, wants anybody to know about this place. Let alone film there.

Bringing awareness of the killing of the dolphins in Taiji Japan

The movie, which was directed by Louie Psihoyos, shows the struggle of Ric O’Barry to bring these dolphins killings to the attention of people and governments, and make it stop. Plus it shows the struggle of the team of activists to capture everything on film. It is about the dolphins of Taiji, but also about sea life all over the World.

READ MORE: Behind the orca’s smile by Anne-Marie van Dijk

10 years after the Cove

I think the Cove is a very important movie to see, and I am sure it will move you just like it moved me. Since I watched it, I look different at Zoo’s like Sea World. Ric O’Barry, his the Dolphin Project and Oceanic Preservation Society are continuing the good work against the practices that have been exposed in the movie. more than 50 million people saw the movie, and no child seems to be eating the toxic dolphin meat anymore. But the barbaric killings are still happening and so I thought it is important to spread the Word about this important movie.




Follow RIc O’Barry’s the Dolphin Project

Love, Lonneke

First published on August 2009, updated in 2019

Cover Photo by NOAA on Unsplash