Whaling…it’s All About the Money!
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
When it comes to blatant propaganda-type reporting, even America’s Fox network pales in comparison to Japan’s Fuji TV. The latest piece of anti-Sea Shepherd reporting is more rant than news coverage with the news anchors making no pretense of objectivity. Fuji TV starts their piece by saying:
The anchors in the Fuji TV newsroom have no sympathy for the actions of Sea Shepherd. Yuko Ando finds Sea Shepherds to be childish and hypocritical, and wonders why Sea Shepherd is focusing on Japan instead of something like the Kangaroo hunts in Australia. They introduce a graph that shows how Sea Shepherd’s increased focus on Japanese whale and dolphin hunting has been very profitable. It is projected that Sea Shepherd may raise nearly 10 times more money this year than it did in 2004. If they want to keep making boatloads of money, they will probably need to continue attacking the Japanese.
Now we don’t really care what Yuko Ando the talking head has to say about Sea Shepherd, but she needs to do a little homework to see that we are the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and not the Australian Outback Kangaroo Protection Society. The slaughter of kangaroos in Australia is obscene and if Japan wants to send people to Australia to protest the slaughter, I’ll send them a donation. But kangaroos are not marine animals, and Sea Shepherd was established to defend marine wildlife from plankton to whales.
Sea Shepherd also defends pilot whales in the Faeroes, Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, sharks and sea cucumbers in the Galapagos, in addition to numerous other projects involving nations including Norway, Denmark, Namibia, Canada, and Malta.
The point being is that some Japanese media are attempting to define the conservation work we do in a framework of anti-Japanese racism. Sea Shepherd is opposed to the operations not the operators. We oppose whaling, not just Japanese whalers, we oppose dolphin killing, not just Japanese dolphin killing. We have Japanese crewmembers and Japanese supporters. Fuji TV is simply catering to the right-wing nationalist movement in Japan with this rhetoric.
As for Sea Shepherd making money, this statement is completely silly. Sea Shepherd is a not-for-profit organization. The funds we raise reflect the support we receive for our campaigns, which means they originate from people opposed to the slaughter of whales and dolphins.
My understanding is that success in modern Japan is equated to making a profit. According to this criteria and Fuji TV, Sea Shepherd is successful and the whaling fleet is not. Now if Fuji TV is really concerned about the funds raised by Sea Shepherd to defend whales and dolphins, they should encourage the Japanese government to abolish the killing of whales and dolphins to deny the support received by Sea Shepherd.
The absence of killing whales and dolphins would of course mean fewer donations to Sea Shepherd and that is perfectly all right with Sea Shepherd. We have always been in business to put ourselves out of business. However more importantly, we are in the business of putting poachers out of business, and that means the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet and the barbaric cruelty of the thugs in Taiji, Japan.
Earlier this year, a poll taken by the Japanese video sharing website Nico Nico Douga, indicated that 67% of respondents believed that Japan needs to promote whaling better, and only 9.1% believed whaling should end. Of 92,430 Japanese respondents, 84% called Sea Shepherd tactics unacceptable, and only 5.5% supported them.
Greenpeace reported that the polled support for whaling was disheartening because of their campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese public to oppose whaling. Well Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not disheartened at all. Hey, we got 5.5% and that’s very good! Every single social revolution in history has succeeded by getting 7% and that is the tipping point. So in theory, we are only 1.5% away from that.
And in reality, we don’t care about such numbers. Sea Shepherd is not in the Southern Ocean to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese public. We are there to stop illegal Japanese whaling targeting endangered and protected whales in an established whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium and in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order.
And as in most battles, the deciding factor is not public opinion – it is plain and simple economics. The majority of Canadians oppose the seal hunt, but the Canadian government supports it. The majority of New Zealanders oppose compromise with the Japanese whalers, but the New Zealand government wants to compromise.
This is not about ethics and morality. Governments don’t care about ethics and morality. They care about the economy, and corporations care about profit and loss – that is their primary, and in most cases, their only concern.
Our objective with Sea Shepherd from the beginning was not to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese public. Our objective has been to sink the Japanese whaling fleet – economically. And we are doing just that. We have cut their kill quotas and their profits every year for the last five years. They are tens of millions of dollars in debt. Every year they return, they are weaker than the year before.
This year the Japanese whaling fleet seems to have lost their charts, their crew, or they simply cannot afford to leave Japan. It is viewed as a victory to Sea Shepherd that the Japanese whaling fleet is still in Japan on December 1st. This indicates that the whalers are in trouble, which usually means financial troubles, and Sea Shepherd is the cause of those financial troubles.
We are winning the whale wars and we will continue to hammer the Japanese whaling fleet and the dolphin-killers with profit loss strategies that will continue to financially cripple their cruel and illegal practices.
As for Fuji TV, they may say what they like and the people of Japan can have any opinion they wish. We are not down in the Southern Ocean or in Taiji to win their support or approval. Our clients are whales and dolphins. We represent the interests of the whales and dolphins. Our only concern is for the welfare of the whales and dolphins. If people are ignorant enough to eat mercury contaminated dolphin and whale meat, then that is not our concern. Our concern is the effect of mercury on the dolphins and whales themselves.
Greenpeace can continue to try and win the hearts and minds of the Japanese people and we wish them the best in that endeavor, but Sea Shepherd will continue to address the economics of the slaughter by negating profits and cutting kill quotas, where and when, as best we can, and with the resources available to us.