Statement from Captain Paul Watson
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not unreasonable, nor irresponsible as claimed by the Japanese government, the New Zealand Foreign Minister, and some Australian media mouthpieces. For the last five years, we have conducted high seas physical opposition to illegal Japanese whaling operations without injuring a single person, without being charged with any crimes, without being charged with any maritime violations.
We are down in these waters for two reasons. Japanese whalers are operating illegally by targeting endangered and protected whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling, in violation of the Antarctic Treaty and in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order.
And the second reason we are down here is because Australia is not down here doing the job they promised they would do.
If the Australian government would like us to desist from our operations than the solution is simple - they should do what they said they would do before they were elected.
If Australia initiates an international legal challenge to Japanese whaling and successfully secures a preliminary injunction preventing the Japanese from killing any whales pending the outcome of the trial, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society would respect this initiative and would retire from the field in order to give the Australian government the opportunity to end this unlawful slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the courts.
Sea Shepherd has saved the lives of whales and has cost the Japanese whaling industry a great deal of money. If the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society retires from the field, the whalers will achieve their quota objectives and they will once again profit from their illegal activities.
Sea Shepherd has secured real results without breaking the law and without injuring anyone.
The Japanese whalers on the other hand are in violation of numerous international conservation laws and have been exceptionally violent this season going so far as deliberately destroying the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil.
We don't like coming down here; we don't enjoy sacrificing our Christmas holidays and being separated from our families. We are volunteers receiving no financial benefits in exchange for risking our lives, health, and freedoms.
But what choice have we? We cannot stand idly by and watch these whales being slaughtered with impunity by poachers as the governments of the world do nothing. We cannot retreat from this battle knowing that whales will die and laws will continue to be broken if we do, unless we are given hope that this situation will be properly addressed by a government willing to stand up to the bullying arrogance of Japan.
If Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett really want us to withdraw from our opposition to illegal Japanese whaling, they should step in and take over and simply do what they promised to do before they were elected.
Sea Shepherd is down here because that promise was broken.