For Dave Rastovich, his two pursuits – surfing and marine activism – go hand-in-hand. He’s pictured just before embarking on a paddle from Byron to Bondi.
For Dave Rastovich, his two pursuits – surfing and marine activism – go hand-in-hand. He’s pictured just before embarking on a paddle from Byron to Bondi. David Nielsen

Oscar nod for dolphin doco

BRUNSWICK HEADS free surfer and environmentalist David Rastovich has found new fame for his role in exposing the horror of a traditional Japanese dolphin slaughter.

The popular documentary film The Cove highlights the practice of slaughtering dolphins for meat in a beautiful cove in Taiji, Japan, 500km south of Tokyo.

The film has gained awards at film festivals here and overseas and now has been nominated for an Oscar.

Mr Rastovich’s role was to help the film crew sneak into the location, despite the risks.

The sponsored surfer describes the cove as stunningly beautiful – ‘like Wategos or behind Broken Head’.

“This is shedding possibly the biggest light on this issue,” he said.

The film was created in 2007 when Mr Rastovich paddled into the area with other surfers as the killing took place.

At the time Rastovich said surfers had a responsibility to speak out.

“At the end of the day we’re the ones who are going to feel it the most, when there’s an ocean without dolphins and whales, when there is an ocean that’s so toxic you can’t go in it.

“I think the surfing community is primed and ready to beactive on this issue, and that’s what’s happening right now, and it’s uplifting.”

Mr Rastovich said each sea mammal was worth around $1000 and every year around 26,000 dolphins were killed.

He recently led an expedition to Sydney following the summer humpback whale migration south.

He joined two fellow activists, including Howie Cooke of Byron, on the journey in three Hobie sailing trimarans, to raise awareness of the whales’ plight.

“In the last 10 years of travelling around the world I have seen how every place I’ve gone to has deteriorated over time,” he said. “You go to all these different places and you see the fish populations and the water quality changing radically.”



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