Sea Shepherds response to the comments made by Sharman Stone, Australian Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Antarctica.
From on board the Farley Mowat en-route to the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary Dec. 17, 2002
On December 13th, the Parliamentary Secretary for Antarctica, Sharman Stone, stated that the government of Australia would not support the Sea Shepherd Conservation Societys campaign to oppose illegal Japanese whaling activities in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.
Stone stated that the Australian government cannot condone people risking their lives to protect the whales in the Southern Ocean.
"Were concerned about any vessel down in Antarctic waters that endangers another vessel, endangers its own crew," she said. "Quite clearly thats very dangerous and treacherous, that might require a rescue from some of our Australian Antarctic Division officers, who in turn have to risk their lives."
On December 16, 2002, Captain Paul Watson on board the Sea Shepherd Conservation Societys flagship, Farley Mowat, responded to Sharman Stones comments:
"We would not be going down to Antarctica, if Australia took responsibility for policing international agreements that it is signatory to." Said Captain Watson. He continues:
"Japanese whaling in the International Whaling Commissions (IWC) declared Antarctic Whale Sanctuary is a blatant violation of the Sanctuary and of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
"Australia seems quite willing to risk the lives of Australian citizens and quite willing to kill Iraqi citizens to control oil, yet has not lifted a finger to uphold the integrity of the Whale Sanctuary."
"If our actions result in the need for the dispatch of a rescue party then I can tell you right now that such a rescue has more validity than rescuing some adventuring yachtsman. We are down here to protect whales from a ruthlessly illegal whaling operation. It is an international scandal, and it is precisely because of the gutless inaction on the part of so called whale protection nations like Australia that we are forced to take action. Australia may say that it opposes Japanese whaling and that might appease the conservation lobby in Australia, but it is a fraudulent position unless they act. They have not acted, and so we must."
"If Australia is really concerned about not having us place ourselves in danger then I would suggest that Australia stop its whining about us, and get off their bureaucratic backsides and do something to stop the merciless slaughter of these protected whales by this outlaw fleet."
"My Australian crewmembers are outraged at the hypocrisy of their government. They are down here upholding Australias declared opposition to illegal whaling and instead of encouragement, they receive this slap in the face from a bureaucrat who apparently is ignorant of the gravity of the threat facing the whales."
There are forty-three volunteer crew members on board the Farley Mowat, representing 10 nations, include five Australians and six New Zealanders.
Kylie Herd, a 27 year old Sea Shepherd volunteer crew member from Perth added, "The whales give us a multi-million dollar whale-watching industry and I am here to repay the whales by doing what I can to protect them for future generations."
Says Peter Woof, an engineer from Ulladulla on the south coast of New South Wales: "All that is necessary for the extermination of the whales is for good people to do nothing, and I as an Australian have no intention of doing nothing."
The Farley Mowat is operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, based in Friday Harbor, Washington. The Society was founded in 1977 as an organization to investigate and uphold international marine conservation law.
For more information about Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, please see our website: www.seashepherd.org. To arrange an interview with Captain Paul Watson via satellite phone, please email [email protected], Tel: USA-310-456-1141.