Illegal Whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary - The Numbers
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
On Board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin
The Japanese whaling program began on December 15.
Japan was able to hunt and kill whales from December 15 until January 8, for a total of 23 days.
They resumed whaling operations on February 2 until February 23 for an additional 21 days, making a total of 44 whaling days, or 6 weeks and 2 days.
For some of those 44 days, whales were not killed because of bad weather conditions.
Sea Shepherd prevented whales from being killed from January 8 to February 1, for a total of 24 days, and from February 23 to March 5 (so far) for an additional 10 days, resulting in a total of 35 whale-killing-free days, or 5 solid weeks where no whales were slain-and counting.
If the Japanese average 10 whales a day (their traditional take), this means they will have killed no more than 440 whales out of their set quota of 936 piked whales and 50 fin whales, or 985 whales in total. The number could be much smaller, but certainly not higher.
With only a few more weeks left in the season, the Japanese whaling fleet has taken only 47% of their quota. By now, they should have reached 90 to 95% of their quota.
With Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship, the Steve Irwin, virtually glued to the stern of the Nisshin Maru,there is no way whaling will resume in the next week
The whaling season will be over by mid-March.
There is no possible way for the Japanese whalers to secure their full quota for the 2007-2008 season, and there is a very good possibility that they will not achieve even half of this quota.
In addition, they were forced to back down on their objective of killing 50 endangered humpback whales.
This has been a very good year for protecting whales, with hundreds of lives saved and worldwide exposure of Japan's ongoing illegal whaling activities, including media coverage in Japan for the first time ever.
In 2005-2006, the whalers fell 85 whales short of their quota after we chased them for only 1 week. In 2006-2007, the whaling fleet took half their quota after interventions by Sea Shepherd and an accidental fire onboard the Nisshin Maru. And this year, they will again not get even half their quota.
This will become a never-ending trip to the dentist for Japan. It has been our intention to intervene and harass these whaling operations at every opportunity. We have done so for three straight years in a row, and it has proven to be an effective tactic with over 1,000 whales saved during that time.
In terms of the number of whales saved, Sea Shepherd has demonstrated that our tactics are successful.
The numbers speak for us, and it is the numbers that decide the effectiveness of our tactics.