MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - The controversial six-month long dolphin hunting season began in Taiji, Japan, an official of the Taiji fisheries association announced on Monday.
"The dolphin hunting season started today and will last until the end of February," Taiji official told AFP.
However, hunting would not take place on Monday due to bad weather.
During the hunt, fishermen in the town of Taiji in Japan's Wakayama Prefecture drive dolphins into an isolated bay. Most of the mammals are later slaughtered for human consumption, while a few are sold into captivity.
The practice gained worldwide attention after it became the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" in 2009. According to the movie, over 20,000 dolphins are killed in Japan every year.
Following international outrage and protests from animal rights activists, the number of dolphins killed in the Taiji hunt has steadily declined.
In the 2008-2009 season, nearly 1,500 dolphins were slaughtered, according to the organization Save Japan Dolphins. The number had decreased to about 850 in 2012-2013.