ABOARD THE FARLEY MOWAT, 1745 Hours, February 13th, 2007 (2045 Hours, February 12th, PST) -
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is announcing that they will not be ramming the illegal Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru after Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson spoke with New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter at 1150 Hours Auckland time today.
Captain Watson had threatened to ram the Farley Mowat up the slipway of the Nisshin Maru unless New Zealand or Australia made a firm commitment to protect the whales this year.
"Mr. Carter has agreed that New Zealand will do everything it can to stop the Japanese from killing whales, especially the highly endangered humpback whales," said Captain Watson. "We are willing to give him the opportunity to do so. The Japanese will be targeting 50 endangered humpback whales at the end of this year. These endangered humpbacks must be our line in the sand, the place where we say, enough is enough. We simply cannot allow these whales to be ruthlessly slaughtered."
Sea Shepherd is very much aware that New Zealand and Australia have been in the vanguard of whale conservation efforts but unfortunately the slaughter continues and is escalating. Sea Shepherd is working to highlight this issue and to obstruct illegal whaling activities. The only ramming of ships that has occurred so far is when the Kaiko Maru rammed and damaged the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter after the Robert Hunter intervened to get between the whaler and a pod of whales.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has never caused a single injury to any person since the organization was founded in 1977. Thirty years with an unblemished record of non-violent intervention is a record the society is very proud of, and intends to keep. Sea Shepherd is not a protest organization. The Society intervenes only against illegal operations in accordance with the principles established by the U.N. World Charter for Nature.
The two Sea Shepherd ships are continuing to pursue the Japanese whaling fleet with the objective of obstructing any whaling activities. The Japanese whalers are running at full speed to get away from the Sea Shepherd ships and when they are running they are not killing whales.
"The Honorable Chris Carter has said he will do everything he can to prevent this. We will take Mr. Carter at his word and in return we have given him assurances that we will not ram the Japanese whalers this year," said Captain Watson.
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