The Cove, a new documentary about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, has several Canadian connections. Last week, the Straight published a feature story quoting two participants, Coquitlam-based freedivers Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Kirk Krack. The article also noted that former B.C. resident Simon Hutchins was the “expedition director” for a crew of environmentalists, including Cruickshank and Krack, who went to extraordinary lengths to film the annual massacre in the town of Taiji.
The movie, which was directed by Louie Psihoyos, has two other Canadian connections. Former Vancouver resident Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, shows up in the film on a few occasions, as does former Canadian federal fisheries bureaucrat Dan Goodman. Goodman, who works for the Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, has been a frequent critic of Watson’s organization. Goodman appears on-screen as the legal adviser to the Japanese delegation at the International Whaling Commission, which regulates whaling.
Annelise Sorg, a founder of the Vancouver-based Coalition for No Whales in Captivity, told the Straight by phone that Goodman headed the Canadian delegation at the IWC for many years until Canada withdrew from the organization in 1982. That year, the IWC voted in favour of a moratorium on commercial whaling, which was implemented in 1986.
“Canada always voted in favour of whaling, never in favour of conservation,” Sorg said. She claimed that Goodman played a role in Canada withdrawing from the IWC so that this country could allow whaling outside of the authority of the international regulator. The IWC has passed resolutions condemning Canada’s actions and inviting it to rejoin the organization.
Sorg also founded the Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society, which published a report in 2001 called Canada’s War on Whales: Will the Bowhead Survive? The paper noted that Goodman left the federal government “to go to work for Japanese whalers and represent the Japanese government at the IWC”. The Tokyo-based institute that employs Goodman told the Straight that he was away on business and couldn’t be reached for comment.