Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Legal (SSL) will make a presentation on April 27th in Seattle at a hearing to be held by NOAA Fisheries on the proposal by the Makah Tribe to kill gray whales in the waters off Washington state. SSL's position is that this permission should not be granted and that whales must be protected 100% in U.S. waters.
SSL is also exploring legal avenues of opposition to this proposal. Tradition and culture must never be a justification for the killing of whales and dolphins or for violating international conservation law.
In 1998, Sea Shepherd exposed documents released under the Freedom of Information Act that exposed negotiations between the Makah and the Japanese whaling industry that would have sold meat from the "traditional" hunt to the Japanese market.
As Makah Tribal Elder Alberta Thompson said at the time, "This is not tradition. It was part of our culture to weave baskets and to pick berries in the mountains. It was part of our culture to speak our language. No one want to weave baskets or to speak Makah. What they want to do is to kill a whale with an anti-tank gun – and that has never been a part of Makah culture."
Sea Shepherd Legal is a 501(c)(3) entity, operating separately from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.