The screams of dolphins in agony fill the air while the sea is crimson with blood.
This is the barbaric scene as Japanese fishermen slaughter the trusting creatures so their flesh can be tinned and sold in supermarkets.
The dolphins are speared in the head, in a ritualised massacre that brings a slow and desperate death.
What makes it even more shocking is that experts are convinced these friendly and lovable mammals are aware they are being murdered.
“Dolphins, like humans and gorillas, are self-aware,” said Rick O’Barry, a member of the anti-whaling group who secretly videoed the scene this month in the small fishing town of Taiji on Japan’s south coast.
“They can look in the mirror and are aware what they are looking at. They are incredibly intelligent and will know exactly what is happening to them.”
Hunting dolphins is forbidden by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, of which Japan is a member.
Yet the striped dolphins in these pictures are among 60 already caught in Taiji this year. The season started at the beginning of this month and runs until April.
Fishermen in 13 boats line up and start pounding the water with iron poles. The noise confuses the soundsensitive dolphins, they lose their sense of direction and are herded into coves where a net locks them in.
After a day, when they are suitably disorientated, the fishermen drive spiked and hooked poles into their heads, hold them in the water as the blood pours out, then heave them into the boat. The creatures take an average of six minutes to die.
If you are concerned about the dolphin slaughter write to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, PO Box 22, Beauly, IV4 7WG or visit www.seashepherd.org