The Cove is a 2009 documentary film that analyzes and questions Japan's dolphin hunting culture. It was awarded the (2010) Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film is a call to action to halt mass dolphin kills, change Japanese fishing practices, and to inform and educate the public about the risks, and increasing hazard, of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat.
The film is told from an ocean conservationist's point of view.The film highlights the fact that the number of dolphins killed in the Taiji dolphin hunting drive is several times greater than the number of whales killed in the Antarctic, and claims that 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed in Japan every year by the country's whaling industry. The migrating dolphins are herded into a hidden cove where they are netted and killed by means of spears and knives over the side of small fishing boats. The film argues that dolphin hunting as practiced in Japan is unnecessary and cruel.
The film was directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos. Portions were filmed secretly during 2007 using underwater microphones and high-definition cameras disguised as rocks.
The documentary won the U.S. Audience Award at the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. It was selected out of the 879 submissions in the category.